William Barr, former Attorney General, reportedly dismissed a proposal for an agreement in which Derek Chauvin will admit that he committed a third-degree murder of George Floyd.
Chauvin is a former Minnesota police officer who was filmed while he was putting his knee on the neck of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man suspected to have used a counterfeit bill in a store.
The event, which led to Floyd’s death on May 25th, 2020, caused mass protests that started in Minneapolis and quickly spread to other major cities in the U.S.
10 Years prison sentence?
According to media sources, Barr was especially worried about the part of an agreement that suggested a 10-year prison sentence for Chauvin.
The former Attorney General was allegedly afraid that after being perceived as ‘too lenient’, such a sentence might incite additional protests.
Barr is also thought to have insisted on entirely delegating the case to prosecutors from Hennepin County.
Chauvin’s trial is expected to begin on March 8th.
Along with third-degree murder, Chauvin has been charged with second-degree manslaughter.
If Minnesota’s sentencing guidelines are obeyed, Chauvin will likely spend 16.5 years in prison (12.5 years for murder and four years for manslaughter).
There is also a possibility that the convictions will be stricter.
On the other hand, three other officers who also participated in the event will be heard in the summer.
Since they are facing lesser charges, they are expected to receive shorter sentences.
Floyd might have died from drugs
However, there were speculations that Floyd might not have died from Chauvin’s violence.
A medical examination conducted in August indicated that Floyd had fatally high levels of fentanyl in his body.
Fentanyl is a drug approved to treat severe pain, usually the one associated with cancer, and is known to cause death if taken in extremely high doses.
In August, Dr. Andrew Baker, one of the medical examiners in Floyd’s case, told reporters that even though there are cases of people who died of fentanyl levels even lower than the one identified in Floyd’s body, he cannot be certain that the drug caused the death of the 46-year-old.
Also, some documents showed that Floyd suffered from severe heart complications that may have contributed to his death.
What is sure is that Minneapolis is getting ready for the trial that may bring additional turmoil to the city.
To avert any major disturbances, the U.S Army has started mobilizing the National Guard troops and local authorities have told office workers not to leave their homes on the day of the trial.