Ex-US police officer Derek Chauvin has been sentenced to 22.5 years in prison for the murder of George Floyd which took place last year in Minneapolis. Chauvin was found guilty in April of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
The murder occurred when Derek Chauvin knelt on 46-year-old George Floyd’s neck for over nine minutes during an arrest. Video footage of the arrest reveals George Floyd screaming that he couldn’t breathe while Chauvin knelt on his neck.
At the sentencing hearing, Chauvin gave his condolences to Mr. Floyd’s family; stating, “I do want to give my condolences to the Floyd family.” Chauvin said that due to legal reasons, he was unable to give a formal statement at the current time while adding, “There’s going to be some other information in the future that would be of interest and I hope things will give you some peace of mind,”.
Acknowledging the pain that Floyd’s family was feeling, Judge Peter Cahill stated that a 22-page memorandum would be issued which would explain the rationale for the sentence while adding that the ruling wasn’t based on “emotion or sympathy”.
Cahill stated that the sentence went 10 years beyond what was called for in sentencing guidelines due to Chauvin’s abuse of power in a position of authority as well as the particular cruelty shown to George Floyd.
One of Floyd’s brothers ‘Terrance Floyd’ called for the maximum penalty while stating, “We don’t want to see no more slaps on the wrist. We’ve been through that already,”.
Mr. Floyd’s seven-year-old daughter Gianna Floyd stated in a video interview shown in court that she wished she could tell her father that “I miss you and I love you”.
Prosecutor Matthew Frank asked Judge Cahill to exceed the sentence to 30 years while stating, “This is not a momentary gunshot, punch to the face. This is nine-and-a-half minutes of cruelty to a man who was helpless and just begging for his life,”.
Chauvin’s mother Carolyn Pawlenty pleaded for her son’s mercy while saying that his reputation has been unfairly reduced to that of “an aggressive, heartless and uncaring person” as well as a racist. She told the judge, “I can tell you that is far from the truth,”.
Chauvin can only be sentenced on the most serious charge under Minnesota statutes, which carries a maximum sentence of 40 years but case law dictated that a 30-year sentence would be more practical for Judge Cahill to impose without risk of being overturned on appeal.