Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was sentenced Friday to 22.5 years in prison for the murder of George Floyd.
The sentence, Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill said, was “not” based on emotion, sympathy, public opinion, or the goal of “sending any messages.”
“But at the same time I want to acknowledge the deep and tremendous pain that all the families are feeling, especially the Floyd family,” he said, before announcing the sentence of 270 months.
That’s 10 years above the presumptive sentence of 150 months, or 12.5 years.
“This is based on your abuse of a position of trust and authority, and also the particular cruelty shown to George Floyd,” Cahill said.
Chauvin took to the lectern briefly, saying he was limited in what he could say due to “additional legal matters,” through offered a very short comment to Floyd’s family.
“I want to give my condolences to the Floyd family,” Chauvin said. “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. Thank you.”
Chauvin was also indicted in May on federal charges for Floyd’s killing, though it’s unclear if this is to what he was referring.
The sentencing of the 45-year-old comes 66 days after he was convicted on three counts in connection to Floyd’s May 25, 2020 death. Prosecutors had asked for a 30-year prison sentence, citing aggravating factors in the case, which Cahill said he would take into account. The defense had requested probation. The maximum possible sentence under the law was 40 years.
Earlier in the day, Cahill denied a motion from Chauvin’s lawyer, Eric Nelson, requesting a new trial and a Schwartz hearing. Cahill said the defense failed to demonstrate any if claims alleging misconduct by the court, jury or prosecutors.
Chauvin could still file an appeal with the Minnesota Court of Appeals.
George Floyd’s family speaks
During Friday’s sentencing, four members of Floyd’s family provided victim impact statements, the contents of which Cahill considered in his decision. Here’s a brief look at what each person said.
Gianna Floyd, George Floyd’s daughter:
Speaking via video, the 7-year-old spoke of how she misses her dad,
“My daddy always used to help me brush my teeth,” she said, adding she would like to one day play with him again. Gianna also noted “mean people did something to him.”
When asked what she would like to tell her father, she said, “That I miss you and I love him.”
Brandon Williams, George Floyd’s nephew:
Acknowledging it is “impossible” to capture the pain they’ve felt since Floyd’s murder in words, Williams said the incident “has forever traumatized” the family.
“It has been truly unimaginable, but not as nearly as unimaginable as the defendant’s decisions to take the life of a human being,” he said, noting Chauvin will have the opportunity to see and speak with his family again — something now impossible for George Floyd.
Terrence Floyd, George Floyd’s brother:
Terrence Floyd, often fighting back tears, addressed Chauvin directly.
“I wanted to know, from the man himself, why?” he said. “What were you thinking? What was going through your head when you had your knee on my brother’s neck? When you knew that he posed no threat anymore … why didn’t you at least get up?”
He also said he didn’t want to see a “slap on the wrist,” since if the roles were reversed, the case would have been “open and shut.”
Philonise Floyd, George Floyd’s brother
Philonise Floyd talked about the responsibility he has felt speaking for his brother George following his death, going from truck driver to speaking on an international stage.
“George’s life mattered. So my family and I, most of all my niece Gianna, she needs closure,” he said, later adding: “My family and I have been given a life sentence” and asking for the maximum penalty for Chauvin.
Derek Chauvin’s mother
Carolyn Pawlenty, the mother of Derek Chauvin, spoke following the victim impact statements, saying she was there to speak for herself and their entire family.
She said it’s been “difficult” to read and hear the portrayals of her son as an “aggressive, heartless and uncaring person,” later adding: “The public will never know the loving and caring man he is, but his family does.”
She said: “Derek always dedicated his life and time to the police department. Even on his days off he would call in to see if they needed help. Derek is a quiet, thoughtful, honorable and selfless man. He has a big heart and he always has put others before his own.”
Pawlenty also said when they sentence her son, “you will also be sentencing me.”
To Chauvin, seated nearby, she said: “My happiest moment is when I gave birth to you, and my second is when I was honored to pin your police badge on you.”
Source: USA Today