Will Derek Chauvin have sentence reduced? Plea deal rumor sparks outrage
Former police officer Derek Chauvin is reportedly close to a plea deal with federal prosecutors. After being sentenced to 22.5 years over the murder of George Floyd, Chauvin is now facing a federal case for violation of civil rights. If convicted, he could face life in prison. However, we are now hearing that may not be the case, as he is negotiating a deal for a lesser sentence.
In April, he became one of the very few cops to be found guilty of police brutality. A Minnesota jury found him guilty on all charges, which became a moment for celebration all over America. On June 25, he was sentenced at Hennepin County Court, with the length falling well short of the maximum 40 years. In response, Floyd's family said the "punishment didn't fit the crime." It is unclear if Chauvin will appeal the verdict, but even if he does he is expected to face a huge challenge.
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That landmark decision isn't the end of his legal woes. In May 2021, the Department of Justice (DoJ) announced it would bring federal criminal charges against Chauvin, as well as Thomas Lane, J Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao. That case has been built by prosecutors from the DoJ and the U.S. Attorney's Office in Minnesota. The latest update is that Chauvin is working on a plea deal, with some caveats.
Chauvin to plead guilty and explain actions
On June 28, CBS revealed that federal prosecutors were reportedly discussing a deal with Chauvin, that would see his sentence reduced from life. It is unclear when the negotiations began, but it should have been sometime prior to his sentencing on June 25. Under the deal, Chauvin would receive just 20-25 years in prison, matching the sentence he already received. He would also serve the sentences concurrently, rather than consecutively. Furthermore, he will likely serve his time in a federal facility, rather than a state prison.
In order to be eligible for that deal though, Chauvin will have to explain publicly what he did and why he did it. Terrence Floyd, George Floyd's brother asked the same thing to Chauvin during his sentencing. "We don’t want to see no more slaps on the wrist. We’ve been through that already. What was going through your head when you had your knee on my brother’s neck?" he said at the time.
It's unclear at the moment why prosecutors are offering Chauvin such a deal. If he does agree to it, he would effectively serve just 1 sentence for two independent cases, and be releases far sooner than usual. Chauvin hinted that the deal was in the works during his sentencing. "Due to legal matters, I’m not able to give a full formal statement … I give my condolences to the Floyd family, there’s gonna be some other information in the future that will be of interest and I hope these will give you some peace of mind," he said at the time.
Currently, Chauvin is serving time at Minnesota's only maximum security facility - Oak Park Heights Prison. He could be released in 15 years, under Minnesota state laws that mandate inmates to serve at least two-thirds of their sentence before being eligible for parole. News of the deal has made its way to Twitter, with many users shocked and angry that Chauvin could face less time, not more.
'He needs life in prison'
Social media made their feelings about the news quite clear. "DISGUSTING. He needs life in prison," one person tweeted. Another said, "Here's my plea deal for Chauvin: one life sentence instead of two." Another person said, "This monster doesn’t deserve any plea deals!!" One person tweeted, "No plea deal let him rot in hell."
DISGUSTING. He needs life in prison.— RichardG (@e_richgerard) June 29, 2021
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Here's my plea deal for Chauvin: one life sentence instead of two.— 𝓜🖊 (@Martenizing) June 29, 2021
This monster doesn’t deserve any plea deals!!— Deb Hamilton (@debatyeg) June 29, 2021
No plea deal let him rot in hell.— Hildajonson (@Hildajonson1) June 29, 2021
It's unclear at the moment if Lane, Kueng, and Thao will also have plea deals. There is little movement on their cases at the moment, both at the state level and the federal level. They are due in court in March 2022, for their state cases. The delay is likely so that jurors can make independent decisions, without having Chavuin's case fresh in their minds.