Minnesota’s Attorney General Keith Ellison has sent out a request for the judge in Derek Chauvin’s murder trial to rewrite the disgraced officer’s sentencing to identify the “trauma” the child witnesses experienced when watching George Floyd get murdered.
On Wednesday, Ellison filed a letter asking Hennepin County Court Judge Peter Cahill to rewrite his sentencing order to delete suggestions that child witnesses did not suffer trauma, The Grio reports.
In the current 22-page sentencing memorandum for Chauvin, Cahill did not give any additional sentencing time to the convicted murderer because Cahill felt like the children who witnessed the crime did not appear to be traumatized.
“Although the State contends that all four of these young women were traumatized by witnessing this incident, the evidence at trial did not present any objective incident of trauma,” Cahill wrote.
One 9-year-old and two 17-year-old girls witnessed Chuavin kneeling on Floyd’s neck so long that he died. Darnella Frazier, Alyssa Furnari, and Kaylynn Gilbert were the eyewitnesses who saw Floyd take his last breath. Now, Ellison wants to make sure that the trauma the young girls suffered as eyewitnesses is identified in Chauvin’s sentence.
“The Court should remove or modify the identified portions of the opinion,” Ellison wrote in the letter as noted by the Star Tribune. “Doing so will not, in any way, affect Defendant’s 22.5 year sentence but will avoid the risk of sending the message that the pain these young women endured is not real or does not matter, or worse, that it’s a product of their own decisions and not a consequence of Defendant’s.”
Ellison brought attention to the bias that young Black girls often face where they’re viewed as adults and not the children they actually are. His letter request included a written statement of support from Dr. Sarah Vinson, an Atlanta-based child, adolescent, and adult psychiatrist.
“As a Black girl, [Frazier] is at risk of having her actions interpreted through a lens that denies her vulnerability and attributes more advanced motives to her actions,” Vinson wrote.
“With adultification bias, there is a risk of minimizing the emotional and developmental vulnerability of [Frazier] and [Reynolds]. … Furthermore, [Frazier’s] ostensibly mature actions can be understood as an empathetically driven response to a tragic situation in which the youth should never have been placed.”
In June, Chauvin was sentenced to 22 1/2- years in prison for the murder of George Floyd.