Derek Chauvin, the previous policeman who killed George Floyd on a Minneapolis street last year, was sentenced Friday to 22 and half years in prison. Chauvin, during 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 need to serve two-thirds of his sentence or 15 years — and he is going to 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 fifteen years for the crime. Floyd’s death sparked massive protests across the state over police brutality.
Judge Peter Cahill said the sentence wasn’t supported emotion or popular opinion. He wanted to “acknowledge the deep and tremendous pain that each one of the families is feeling, especially the Floyd family,” the judge said.
In a 22 page memorandum, Cahill wrote that two aggravating factors warranted a harsher sentence — than Chauvin “abused his position of trust or authority” and treated Floyd with “particular cruelty.” Chauvin, the judge wrote, treated Floyd “without respect and denied him the dignity owed to all or any citizenry .” Cahill said the previous officer “objectively remained indifferent to Mr. Floyd’s pleas’ whilst Mr. Floyd was begging for his life and clearly terrified by the knowledge that he was likely to die.”
“Mr. Chauvin’s prolonged restraint of Mr. Floyd was also for much longer and more painful than the standard scenario during a second-degree or third-degree murder or second-degree manslaughter case,” the judge wrote.
Chauvin will remain during a restricted housing unit separated from the overall population at the Minnesota Correctional Facility- Oak Park Heights “for the nonce ,” Minnesota Department of Corrections spokesperson Sarah Fitzgerald told CNN. “His ultimate placement is undetermined, but his safety are going to be our predominant concern when determining final placement,” Fitzgerald said, adding Chauvin has been on administrative segregation status for his “general safety.” Chauvin, 45, was convicted in April on charges of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter for his role in Floyd’s death.
Floyd’s final moments, captured on searing telephone footage by a 17-year-old, illustrated in clear visuals what Black Americans have long said about how the criminal justice system treats Black people. Floyd’s death departs mass protests across the world also as incidents of looting and unrest. At the intersection 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 sentence . Floyd’s sister, Bridgett, who founded the George Floyd Memorial Foundation, said during a statement that the sentence “shows that matters of police brutality are finally being taken seriously.”
“However, we have an extended thanks to going and lots of changes to form before Black and brown people finally desire they’re being treated fairly and humanely by enforcement during this country,” she added. Floyd family attorney Ben Crump, during 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 big breakthrough — something that was unimaginable a really short 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 important societal change which will move us much further along the road to justice.” “My hope is that he takes the time to find out something about the person whose life he took and about the movement that rose up to involve justice within the wake of George Floyd’s torture and death,” he said of Chauvin. “Today is additionally a crucial moment for our country. the result of this case is critically important. But by itself, it isn’t enough.”
Chauvin’s defense lawyer , 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 offer 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 wrapped around her hair.
“I ask about him all the time,” the small girl said, responding to questions on her dad. “I miss you and that 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 during which he hears his brother pleading for his life and calling out for his or her mother. He said he relives the video of his brother “being tortured to death” by Chauvin, especially the smirk on the previous cop’s face. “My family and that i are given a life . we’ll never get George back,” he said.
Philonise wiped tears from his eyes as he spoke about Gianna. Terrence Floyd, another brother, struggled to talk as he asked for the utmost penalty. “We don’t need to ascertain no more slaps on the wrist,” nephew Brandon Williams said. “We have been through that already — in my community, in my culture.” Carolyn Pawlenty, Chauvin’s mother, grew emotional as she described him as her favourite 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 primary time.
“Derek, i would like you to understand I’ve always believed in your innocence, and that i will never waiver from that,” she said. Chauvin’s post-verdict motion for a replacement trial was denied by Cahill hours before the hearing.
Cahill ruled Thursday night that Chauvin “failed to demonstrate … the Court abused its discretion or committed error such Defendant was bereft of his constitutional right to a good trial.” Cahill also ruled that Chauvin did not demonstrate prosecutorial or juror misconduct. Defense attorneys had argued that “errors, abuses 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 victim’s family, and therefore the community,” consistent with a sentencing memo.
Nelson argued for probation and time served, or a minimum of a sentence but what the law guides. “Mr. Chauvin asks the Court to seem beyond its findings, to his background, his lack of criminal history, his amenability to probation, to the weird facts of this case, and to his being a product of a ‘broken system,” Nelson wrote during 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, handcuffed and lying prone on the road , 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 gaggle of horrified bystanders looked on.
Chauvin received the court complex in downtown Minneapolis hours before his sentencing. Three other officers who were on scene during Floyd’s fatal arrest — Tou Thao, Thomas Lane, and Alexander Kueng — have pleaded acquitted to charges of aiding and abetting. Their trial is currently set for March 2022. Since his conviction, Chauvin has been held at Minnesota Correctional Facility-Oak Park Heights, outside of Minneapolis, and was put into a segregated housing unit for his own safety, a jail spokesperson said. The Minnesota Department of Corrections will choose where Chauvin will serve his time after receiving Cahill’s sentencing order, spokeswoman Sarah Fitzgerald told CNN. Legally, Chauvin could have faced up to 40 years in prison for second-degree murder, up to 25 years for third-degree murder and up to 10 years for manslaughter.
The second-degree murder indictment said Chauvin assaulted Floyd together with his knee, which unintentionally caused Floyd’s death. The third-degree murder indictment said Chauvin acted with a “depraved mind,” and therefore the manslaughter charge said his “culpable negligence” caused Floyd’s death. Chauvin has no prior record , so Minnesota’s sentencing guidelines recommend about 12 and a half years in prison for every murder indictment and about four years for the manslaughter charge. In this case, state prosecutors asked for a tougher sentence than the recommendations provide, citing five aggravating factors they said applied. Cahill had ruled that four of the five factors were proven beyond an inexpensive doubt: (1) Chauvin abused an edge of trust and authority, (2) he treated Floyd with particular cruelty, (3) children were present during the offense, and (4) Chauvin committed the crime as a gaggle with the active participation of a minimum of three people. The findings allowed the judge to sentence Chauvin beyond the rules .
Over about three weeks of testimony in court, Minnesota prosecutors repeatedly told jurors to “believe your eyes” and believe the infamous video of Floyd. “This case is strictly what you thought once you saw it first, once you saw that video. it’s exactly that. you’ll believe your eyes,” prosecutor Steve Schleicher said in closing arguments. “This wasn’t policing. This was murder.” The defense called seven witnesses — but not Chauvin himself, as he invoked his Fifth Amendment right to not testify. Nelson argued that Chauvin’s use of force was reasonable, that he was distracted by hostile bystanders which Floyd died of other causes.
Chauvin faces other legal issues also . A federal jury indicted all four former officers in reference to Floyd’s death, alleging they violated his constitutional rights, consistent with court documents filed in court in Minnesota. they’re thanks to be arraigned on the fees in September, consistent with a court filing. Chauvin also was charged during a separate indictment associated with an event during which he allegedly used unreasonable force on a Minneapolis 14-year-old in September 2017, the Department of Justice said during a statement. he’s also expected to be arraigned therein case in September, consistent with court filings.