Derek Chauvin has been taken to a maximum security prison and placed on suicide watch after he was pronounced guilty on all three counts of murder and manslaughter in the death of George Floyd. The 45-year-old veteran cop is also being closely monitored as he is also understood to be at risk from other inmates and could be killed inside the prison.
Chauvin's bail was immediately revoked on Tuesday and was escorted out of the courtroom in handcuffs after the verdict was read out. His sentencing is due to take place in eight weeks time, Judge Peter Cahill said. He could face up anything between 12 to 40 years in jail, although many are calling for life imprisonment.
Being Closely Watched
Chauvin was led away in handcuffs immediately after the judge revoked his bail pending sentencing and dispatched to Oak Park Heights, Minnesota. Oak Park Heights is Minnesota's only Level Five maximum security prison and it is regarded as one of the safest for high-risk offenders.
Chauvin is being closely watched by guards for his own safety as he is being considered suicide risk. Besides, he is also being closely monitored as he poses risk from other inmates with violent criminal histories and could be killed since he is a former cop.
That said, no prisoner has ever succeeded in escaping from Oak Park Heights which houses around 500 of the most dangerous inmates in the country. The prison is located 25 miles east of Minneapolis, on the border with Wisconsin. Moreover, only one inmate has been killed inside since the jail opened in 1982.
According to a DailyMail report, Jim Bruton, former warden of Oak Park Heights, described in his 2004 book about the prison how the hierarchy among inmates was determined by the crime committed. At the top of the scale are those who have killed a law enforcement officer. At the bottom are sex offenders, with child molesters considered the lowest of the low.
This hierarchy, coupled with Chauvin's reputation as a police officer, definitely demands high security and constant monitoring.
Maintaining His Silence
Chauvin was completely silent on Tuesday after he was taken to court. The veteran cop was emotionless as Judge Peter Cahill read the nine-minute-29-second long verdict of Chauvin kneeling on an unarmed Floyd's neck in May last year. The crowd waiting outside the court building cheered the verdict as they stood impatiently at the intersection of 38th and Chicago, now known as George Floyd Square, where the fatal arrest had taken place.
As each of the charges against Chauvin was separate, jurors had to reach a separate verdict for each count. They had to conclude Chauvin's actions were a "substantial causal factor" in Floyd's death and that his use of force was unreasonable. Chauvin is currently facing a maximum of 75 years behind bars but prosecutors previously said they would be seeking enhanced sentences for all convictions.
Prosecuting attorney Jerry Blackwell said Tuesday's verdict sends out the message that Floyd's "life mattered". "Now, no verdict can bring George Perry Floyd back to us, but this verdict does give a message to his family that he was somebody, that his life mattered, that all of our lives matter. And that's important," he said.
Chauvin will be held at Oak Park Heights for the next eight weeks, until sentencing. His attorneys will have to notify the trial court within 60 days if they plan to appeal. His lawyers then have months to review transcripts and court filings dating from the start of the case to build their arguments.