Former Minnesota police officer Derek Chauvin has been sentenced to 22.5 years in prison for the murder of George Floyd, Minnesota judge Peter Cahill ruled on Friday.
The aggravating factors, such as Chauvin’s abuse of power, added 10 years to the presumptive sentence, Cahill explained.
“What the sentence is not based on is emotion or sympathy, but at the same time I want to acknowledge the deep and tremendous pain that all the families are feeling, especially the Floyd family. You have our sympathies. And I acknowledge and hear the pain you’re feeling. I acknowledge the pain not only of those in this courtroom, but the Floyd family who are outside this courtroom and other members of the community,” Cahill said, adding that he explained his legal reasoning for the sentence in a 22-page memorandum.
On April 20, a jury found Chauvin guilty of murder after a three-week trial that garnered national attention. He was convicted on all three charges he faced: second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter. The charges carried maximum sentences ranging from 10 to 40 years in prison.
At the sentencing, Floyd’s daughter Gianna Floyd, nephew Brandon Williams and brothers Terrence Floyd and Philonise Floyd gave victim impact statements, speaking in front of Chauvin and the court. Williams and Philonise Floyd requested Chauvin receive the maximum prison sentence.
“I ask about him all the time,” 7-year-old Gianna Floyd said over a video call. “I want to play with him, have fun, go on a plane ride.”
Carolyn Pawlenty, Chauvin’s mother, addressed the court and described her son as a good man and devoted police officer. In a brief statement, Chauvin offered his condolences to the Floyd family, but couldn’t offer a full statement due to additional legal matters.
“I do want to give my condolences to the Floyd family. There’s going to be some other information in the future that would be of interest. I hope things will give you some peace of mind,” he said.
Ahead of the sentencing on Friday, Chauvin’s defense attorney Eric Nelson filed a motion requesting a new trial, claiming Chauvin was deprived of his constitutional right to a fair trial. He argued that Cahill should’ve allowed the trial to take place in a different location and that the jurors should have been sequestered for the duration of the entire trial, instead of only during their deliberations, due to the large public interest in the case. Nelson also claimed that a juror gave a false testimony during the selection process and that the state engaged in prosecutorial misconduct. However, Cahill ruled that Nelson failed to prove any of his allegations and denied his request for a new trial.
Chauvin has been in a maximum-security prison since the verdict.
On May 25, 2020, Chauvin pinned Floyd to the ground with his knee on Floyd’s neck for nine minutes and 29 seconds, despite Floyd saying multiple times that he could not breathe. A bystander video captured Floyd’s death and quickly spread online, sparking a worldwide movement against police brutality, systemic racism and in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.