Call for prayers for the healing of the Floyd family, community follows condemnation

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ST. PAUL, Minnesota (CNS) – Following Derek Chauvin’s June 25 conviction for the murder of George Floyd, Archbishop Bernard A. Hebda of St. Paul and Minneapolis prayed that it “brings a measure of peace and healing “to Floyd’s family, friends” and our community.

At the same time, he said in a statement, he also prayed that this will inspire everyone “to deepen our conversations on race, justice, violence and peace.”

“Please join me in praying that the Lord will guide us through these conversations, no matter how difficult and uncomfortable they are, while bringing consolation to the Floyd family, healing to our community, and protection to all who work for peace,” Archbishop Hebda said. mentionned.

A former Minneapolis police officer, Chauvin was sentenced to 22 and a half years in prison for killing Floyd. His death while in custody a year ago rocked the Twin Cities and the nation with protests, riots and a heated national debate over racism and justice that continues to this day.

Chauvin, 45, who is white, was convicted on April 20 of unintentional second degree murder, third degree murder and second degree manslaughter on May 25, 2020, death of Floyd, an Afro- American, after Floyd was accused by a store clerk of trying to pass a fake $ 20 bill.

Having had the opportunity to go to court before being sentenced, Chauvin said he was forced to make a full statement due to pending legal issues.

“I want to offer my condolences to the Floyd family,” he said. Information could be released in the future that could help reassure the family, he said.

Chauvin was accused of kneeling on the neck of Floyd, 46, for about nine minutes on a city street as Floyd protested that he couldn’t breathe and lost consciousness. Floyd had resisted being taken in a police car.

As he was handcuffed, face down on the sidewalk, a crowd of people gathered, some of them urging Chauvin and three other police officers to let Floyd stand. A passerby captured part of the scene on a cellphone video that went viral and sparked protests in the Twin Cities and across the country.

Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill convicted Chauvin on the count of second degree murder, which in Minnesota carries a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison. As less serious offenses, the other two counts have not been tried.

The state’s second-degree murder conviction guidelines provide between 10.5 and 15 years in prison for someone, like Chauvin, without a criminal record.

But the Minnesota attorney general’s office, which led the prosecution, called for 30 years in prison, noting aggravating factors Cahill had accepted prior to sentencing: As a police officer, Chauvin “abused a position of trust and authority, “he treated Floyd with” special cruelty, “children were present when Floyd was pinned to the sidewalk, and he committed the crime along with three fellow officers.

In declaring the sentence, which included credit for 199 days served by Chauvin, Cahill noted abuse of authority and cruelty to Floyd. He said his sentence was based on the application of the law to the facts of the case.

Cahill acknowledged the deep pain felt by the Floyd family and the pain felt in Hennepin County, Minnesota and across the country. But the punishment was not based on emotion or public opinion, he said. To emphasize his point, Cahill said a 22-page memorandum explaining his reasoning would be attached to the sentencing order. He encouraged people to read it.

Chauvin’s attorney, Eric Nelson, had argued for probation and time served, or at least less time than recommended by state guidelines. He argued that Chauvin had no criminal history and a supportive family and ex-wife. Chauvin would also face violence in prison, Nelson argued.

The other three former officers are awaiting trial for aiding and abetting second degree murder and second degree manslaughter. All four also face federal charges in this case.

In the wake of Floyd’s death, residents of the Twin Cities and across the country continue to absorb the events that led to Chauvin’s arrest, conviction, and conviction. Catholic parishes and schools in the Archdiocese have responded with prayers, workshops and study groups on racism. Church leaders participated in prayer vigils and rallies and provided materials on the church’s teaching on racism and social justice.

Shortly before the jury announced in April that it had found Chauvin guilty on all counts, the bishops of Minnesota, including Archbishop Hebda, released a statement urging people to turn to Jesus. to find peace, forgiveness, compassion and justice.

The bishops also pledged the church’s commitment “to provide long-term leadership to eradicate the structures of racism and sin in Minnesota and beyond.”


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