Today is a historic day in the fight against police brutality. Derek Chauvin was found guilty on all three counts including second degree murder for the killing of George Floyd last year. You can watch his reaction to the verdict in the video below. Many people view this as a victory and it is, but it is only a partial victory because Chauvin was undercharged and faces at most 40 years in prison. According to the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines someone with no prior criminal history convicted of second degree unintentional murder like Chauvin faces a maximum of 15 years (180 months), but the presumptive sentence is only 12.5 years (150 months) unless the judge departs from the guidelines (see PDF uploaded above). He will have to do that time as a marked man due to being a cop, but he will probably walk free someday if he is not killed in prison.
By charging Chauvin with second degree unintentional murder (https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/cite/609.19), the state not only failed to alleged that Chauvin intentionally killed George Floyd, but they also failed to account for premeditation which can be established by a few seconds of thinking. One does not need to contemplate their actions for more than a few seconds before they act to be guilty of premeditated murder. Derek Chauvin kept his knee on George Floyd's neck for over 9 minutes. It only takes a minute or two for someone "to consider, plan or prepare for, or determine to commit, the act referred to prior to its commission" (https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/cite/609.18). The charge of second degree murder is better suited for situations in which someone acts in an instant. Had Chauvin simply flipped out and shot George Floyd that would have been a good example of second degree murder. A sudden act without premeditation. It takes time to put your knee on someone's neck long enough to choke the life out of him. Derek Chauvin kept his knee on George Floyd's neck long enough for him to consider the consequences of his actions and determine to commit the act of murder by continuing to keep his knee on Floyd's neck for a long time. He should have been charged with first degree murder (https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/cite/609.185) and should be facing a life sentence.
The prosecution called this a pro police prosecution. The lack of a first degree murder charge and certainly the lack of an intentional second degree murder charge proves that. A civilian of any color caught on camera kneeling on someone's neck for 9 minutes would be charged with first degree murder. Prosecutors would argue that the defendant spent minutes contemplating the consequences of his actions and deliberately continued to kneel far beyond the point necessary to kill the other person. They would have offered second degree murder as a lesser charge just in case they could not prove premeditation or intent. They would have argued that you don't need to spend days or hours planning to engage in a premediated act. All one needs is time to think. Had he gone to a mini mart intent on robbing the place, been surrounded by police, debated fighting them for a minute, and then opened fire, he would be charged with premeditated murder for any officer shot dead that day. The same logic is true in this case. Derek Chauvin did not engage in a single instant action without thinking. He took his time, he considered what was going on, and decided to proceed.
"The requisite plan to commit first degree murder can be formulated virtually instantaneously" - State v. Pilcher, 472 N.W.2d 327 (1991)(https://law.justia.com/cases/minnesota/supreme-court/1991/c0-90-1960-2.html)
A lot of people say that a first degree murder charge would not have stuck. That is not the point of this article. The point is that had Chauvin not been a cop that the state would have at least tried to obtain a first degree murder conviction and in the process could have persuaded the jury to convict him of second degree intentional murder as a compromise. Juries typically like to compromise by reaching a verdict between the maximum sought by the prosecution and the acquittal sought by the defense. In such cases the government can obtain a conviction of a more serious charge by charging even more serious charges even if they know they will not stick. The government in this case should have attempted to convince the jury that Chauvin killed George Floyd intentionally with forethought. Had they done so a reasonable juror with doubts as to the forethought could have concluded that Chauvin at least intended to kill George Floyd.
Chauvin's sentencing will be a rude awakening for many. People think that surely a convicted murderer will spend the rest of his life in prison. People will be outraged to hear that he will be allowed to walk free someday. That day will likely be no later than 15 years from now. People will point out that George Floyd will never be allowed to walk the streets again and therefor there is no justice in this case.
Cop Blaster has been covering this case since the beginning. We were one of the first outlets to say the name Derek Chauvin and post his personal information (https://copblaster.com/blast/25733/derek-chauvin-chokes-the-life-out-of-george-floyd-on-camera).