Derek Chauvin, the former police officer who ki** George Floyd on a Minneapolis street last year, was sentenced Friday to 22 and half years in prison.Chauvin, in a light gray suit and tie and white shirt, spoke briefly before the sentence was imposed, offering his “condolences to the Floyd family.”
Under Minnesota law, Chauvin will have to serve two-thirds of his sentence, or 15 years — and he will be eligible for supervised release for the remaining seven and a half years. The sentence exceeds the Minnesota sentencing guideline range of 10 years and eight months to 15 years for the crime. Floyd’s death spa*ked massive p!otes*s acr-oss the nation over police brutality. Judge Peter Cahill said the sentence was not based on emotion or public opinion. He wanted to “acknowledge the deep and tremendous pa* that all of the families are feeling, especially the Floyd family,” the judge said.
In a 22 page memorandum, Cahill wrote that two ag*rava!ing factors warranted a harsher sentence — that Chauvin “a*used his position of trust or authority” and tr-eated Floyd with “particular cruelty.” Chauvin, the judge wrote, treated Floyd “without respect and denied him the di*nity owed to all human beings.”
Cahill said the former officer “objectively remained indifferent to Mr. Floyd’s pleas’ even as Mr. Floyd was begging for his life and obviously te*ri!ied by the knowledge that he was likely to die.” “Mr. Chauvin’s prolonged restraint of Mr. Floyd was also much longer and more pai*ful than the typical scenario in a second-degree or third-degree mu**er or second-degree manslaughter case,” the judge wrote. Chauvin will remain in a restric-ted housing unit separated from the general population at the Minnesota Correctional Facility- Oak Park Heights “for the time being,” Minnesota Department of Corrections spokesperson Sarah Fitzgerald told CNN.
“His ultimate placement is undetermined, but his safety will be our predominate concern when determining final placement,” Fitzgerald said, adding Chauvin has been on administrative segregation status for his “general safety.”
Chauvin, 45, was convi-cted in April on charges of second-degree unintentional mu**er, third-degree m**er and second-degree manslaughter for his role in Floyd’s de-ath. Floyd’s final moments, captured on searing cell phone footage by a 17-year-old, illustrated in clear visuals what Black Americans have long said about how the c*imi*al justice system treats Black people. Floyd’s death set off mass protests across the globe as well as incidents of looting and unrest. At the in-ersec-tion of Chicago Avenue and 38th Street in Minneapolis, where Floyd took his last breaths, people watched the hearing on mobile phones.
Outside the court complex, Floyd supporters expressed mixed emotions about the prison term. Floyd’s sister, Bridgett, who founded the George Floyd Memorial Foundation, said in a statement that the sentence “shows that matters of police b*utali*y are finally being taken seriously.”
“However, we have a long way to go and many changes to make before Bla-ck and bro-wn people finally feel like they are being tr-eated fairly and humanely by law enfor*ement in this country,” she added. Floyd family attorney Ben Crump, in a statement, said the “historic sentence” brings the family and country “one step closer to healing by delivering closure and accountability.” “With Chauvin’s sentence, we take a significant step forward — something that was unimaginable a very sho*t time ago,” he said. Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison told reporters he hoped “this moment gives us pause and allows us to rededicate ourselves to the real societal change that will move us much further along the road to justice.”
“My hope is that he takes the time to learn something about the man whose life he took and about the movement that rose up to call for justice in the wake of George Floyd’s torture and death,” he said of Chauvin. “Today is also an important moment for our country.
The outcome of this case is c*itic**ly important. But by itself, it’s not enough.” Chauvin’s defense attorney, Eric Nelson, declined to comment. After members of Floyd’s family delivered victim impact statements, Chauvin stepped to the lectern beside his lawyer and said, “I want to give my condolences to the Floyd family.” He said pending legal matters prevented him from saying more. The victim impact statements included an emotional video from Floyd’s 7-year-old daughter, Gianna, who wore a bow wrapp-ed around her hair. “I ask about him all the time,” the little girl said, responding to questions about her dad.
“I miss you and I love you,” she said when asked what she would tell her father. Chauvin, wearing a face covering, listened from the defense table. Floyd’s two brothers and a nephew spoke about the birthday parties, graduations and other family milestones he will miss.
Philonise Floyd said he has nightmares in which he hears his brother pleading for his life and calling out for their mother. He said he relives the video of his brother “being tortured to death” by Chauvin, especially the smirk on the former cop’s face. “My family and I have been given a life sentence. We will never get George back,” he said. Philonise wiped tears from his eyes as he spoke about Gianna. Terrence Floyd, another brother, struggled to speak as he asked for the maximum penalty. “We don’t want to see no more slaps on the wrist,” nephew Brandon Williams said. “We been through that already — in my community, in my culture.
” Carolyn Pawlenty, Chauvin’s mother, grew emotional as she described him as her favorite son and “a good man. ” She said the happiest moments in her life were when Chauvin was born and when she pinned his badge on his uniform for the first time. “Derek, I want you to know I’ve always believed in your innocence, and I will never waver from that,” she said.
Chauvin’s post-verdict motion for a new trial was denied by Cahill hours before the hearing. Cahill ruled Thursday night that Chauvin “failed to demonstrate … the Court a*u*ed its discretion or committed error such that Defendant was deprived of his constitutional right to a fair trial.” Cahill also ruled that Chauvin failed to demonstrate prosecutorial or juror misconduct. Defense attorneys had ar*ud that “errors, a*u*es of discretion, prosecutorial and jury misconduct” made the trial unfair. State prosecutors had requested a 30-year prison sentence, saying it “would properly account for the profound impact of Defendant’s conduct on the victim, the vi*tim’s family, and the community,” according to a sentencing memo.
Nelson argued for probation and time served, or at least a sentence less than what the law guides.”Mr. Chauvin asks the Court to look beyond its findings, to his background, his lack of criminal history, his amenability to probation, to the unusual facts of this case, and to his being a product of a ‘br*ken’ system,” Nelson wrote in a filing.
The guilty verdict on all three charges against Chauvin came nearly a year after he impassively kneeled on the neck and back of Floyd, handcu-ffed and lying prone on the street, for 9 minutes and 29 seconds. Under the officer’s knees, the 46-year-old Black man gasped for air, repeatedly exclaimed “I can’t breathe” and ultimately went silent as a group of h**rified bystanders looked on. Chauvin arrived at the court complex in downtown Minneapolis hours before his sentencing.