Floyd family attorney shares how long he believes Derek Chauvin's sentence will be

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ByKate Larsen KGO logo
Wednesday, April 21, 2021
Here's how long attorney thinks Chauvin's sentence will be
What's next after Derek Chauvin's conviction? ABC7 News reporter Kate Larsen spoke to an attorney for the Floyd family about sentencing, and how this case may impact future policy.

Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis officer who pressed his knee against George Floyd's neck, was handcuffed and taken into custody Tuesday after being convicted of all three counts against him in Floyd's death.

So what's next after Chauvin's conviction? ABC7 News reporter Kate Larsen spoke to an attorney for the Floyd family about sentencing, and how this case may impact future policy.

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"This was a win for today," said Lee Merritt, co-counsel to George Floyd's family. Merritt is a Texas-based civil rights attorney, specializing in police misconduct. He's running for Texas attorney general and represents families across the U.S. whose loved ones have died due to police violence. He was recently in the Bay Area to visit with Steven Taylor's family, who was shot by police in San Leandro last year.

Kate Larsen: "Have you spoken directly with the Floyd Family today?"

Lee Merritt: "Yeah, I caught them in a sort of a celebratory moment, moments after the verdict was read."

Kate Larsen: "What are their expectations as we move towards the sentencing phase?"

Lee Merritt: "They want to see the maximum sentencing available; under the charges as they exist, that's 12.5 years. And you know that falls short of their idea of justice."

Merritt will be present for sentencing, which takes place in 45 days.

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He expects former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin to get 10 years. Regardless of prison time, Merritt says the Floyd Family is committed to addressing the culture of policing and violence in America.

"They're gonna push towards legislative outcomes, like the passage of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act that would make it so the federal government in cases like this could come in with additional charges."

ABC's data journalism team learned that since 2005, 143 police have been arrested for criminal use of force. Of those cases, 73 resulted in a criminal conviction. Twenty-six police, including Chauvin, have been arrested for choking or neck restraint crimes while on duty. The data comes from Bowling Green State University.

RELATED: George Floyd's family calls verdict in Derek Chauvin trial a victory: 'We won'

"Those numbers tell me that we can not be pacified by a case like this which essentially represents an anomaly, a very rare conviction of a police officer.

Constitutional and criminal law professor, Rory Little, says the number of arrests is problematic.

"I would say the cases that are charged are very rare and that number, 143, given how many incidences there are every day between police and people on the street, often which for whatever reason result in some sort of forceful detention, that's a pretty low number. There should be more charges filed."

As for Chauvin, Little does expect the defense to appeal his three guilty verdicts.