Ex-Minneapolis officer faces 12-plus years on murder count
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A former Minneapolis police officer who was seen on video kneeling on the neck of George Floyd, who died in custody after pleading that he couldn’t breathe, was charged Friday with two of the same counts that led to a 12 1/2-year prison sentence for another former officer from his department.
State prosecutors charged Derek Chauvin with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Minnesota’s sentencing guidelines recommend 12 1/2 years for a conviction on the murder count and four years on the manslaughter charge.
Former Officer Mohamed Noor got exactly the 12 1/2-year guidelines sentence after he was convicted in 2019 of killing Justine Damond, an unarmed Australian woman living in Minneapolis who was fatally shot after calling 911 to report a possible sexual assault.
Judges have some discretion. The guidelines allow a range of nearly 11 years to 15 years for third-degree murder and less than 3 1/2 years to nearly five years for manslaughter, but the system is designed to result in close to the recommended sentence most of the time.
Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said more charges are possible. He also charged Noor with second-degree murder, but the jury acquitted him on that count. The guidelines recommend 12 1/2 years for unintentional second-degree murder but go up to 25 1/2 for intentional second-degree murder.