A Minnesota judge sentenced former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin onÂ Friday to 22.5 years in prison for the May 2020 murder of George Floyd.
He is also banned from possessing firearms, ammunition or explosives for the remainder of his life.
â€œPart of the mission of the Minneapolis Police Department is to give citizens â€˜voice and respect,â€™â€ wrote Judge Peter Cahill inÂ a 22-page briefÂ laying out his rationale for the sentence. â€œHere, Mr. Chauvin, rather than pursuing the MPD mission, treated Mr. Floyd without respect and denied him the dignity owed to all human beings and which he certainly would have extended to a friend or neighbor.â€
Chauvin was convicted in April of second- and third-degree murder as well as second-degree manslaughter in Floydâ€™s death. He has since been held at the Minnesota Correctional Facility in Oak Park Heights, the stateâ€™s only maximum-security prison, about 25 miles east of Minneapolis.Â
Shortly before his sentence was handed down, the former officer stood up to address the court for the first time.Â
â€œI want to give my condolences to the Floyd family,â€ Chauvin said, adding that he was not able to â€œgive a full, formal statementâ€ because of â€œsome additional legal matters at hand.â€ He ended on a cryptic note.
â€œThereâ€™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,â€ Chauvin told the Floyd family.
Chauvin, who is white, was one of three officers to pin Floyd, a Black man, facedown on a street during an arrest attempt. Chauvin knelt on Floydâ€™s neck for 9 minutes and 29 seconds as Floyd repeatedly stated that he couldnâ€™t breathe and eventually ceased breathing.
Four members of Floydâ€™s family spoke in court before the sentencing, including his young daughter, Gianna, who recalled how her father would help her brush her teeth every night before bed.
â€œI miss you and I love you,â€ Gianna said, addressing her father, in a video shown to the court.
Two of Floydâ€™s brothers, Terrence and Philonise Floyd, along with a nephew, Brandon Williams, asked Judge Peter Cahill to impose the maximum sentence on Chauvin.
Terrence Floyd said his family was now part of a group of Black people whose loved ones were killed by police in America, adding, â€œItâ€™s not one of those fraternities that you enjoy.â€ He then told the judge how desperately he wanted answers from Chauvin: â€œWhat were you thinking? What was going through your head when you had your knee on my brotherâ€™s neck?â€
Floydâ€™s death sparked massive, monthslong protests across the country and an international reckoning with police brutality and racial injustice.
Hours before Fridayâ€™s sentencing,Â Judge Peter Cahill denied a defense motion for a new trial. He also ruled that Chauvinâ€™s team failed to demonstrate prosecutorial or juror misconduct.
Prosecutors filed a memorandum earlier this month asking Cahill to sentence Chauvin to a minimum of 30 years behind bars. Chauvinâ€™s legal team requested he receive probation or a shorter prison term. He will receive credit for time already served: 199 days.Â
Cahill, who oversaw Chauvinâ€™s high-profile trial, ruled last month that the former officer could receive an aggravated prison sentence â€• one that would be tougher than Minnesotaâ€™s sentencing guidelines. The judge said Chauvin abused his position of authority and treated Floyd with particular cruelty.Â
On Friday, the court heard for the first time from Chauvinâ€™s mother, Carolyn Pawlenty, who read a statement that touched on her sonâ€™s childhood dream of becoming a police officer as well as how he has been portrayed in the media.
â€œThe public will never know the loving and caring man he is, but his family does,â€ Pawlenty said. â€œEven though I have never spoken publicly, I have always supported him 100% and I always will.â€
Chauvinâ€™s legal troubles are far from over. In early June, he was ordered into federal custody pending federal charges over Floydâ€™s death.
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