Former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin was sentenced to 22.5 years in prison for the murder of George Floyd, whose dying gasps below Chauvin’s knee led to the biggest outcry against racial injustice in the United States. United for generations.
The sentence imposed on Friday did not reach the 30 years required by prosecutors.
With good behavior, Chauvin, 45, could be paroled after serving two-thirds of his sentence, or around 15 years.
Chauvin broke his long silence in the courtroom on Friday as he faced a conviction for the murder of George Floyd, offering his condolences to Floyd’s family and saying he hoped more information would give them “Some peace of mind”.
Chauvin, who did not testify at his trial, withdrew his COVID-19 and turned to the Floyd family, speaking only briefly because of what he called “a few more legal issues at hand. – an apparent reference to the federal civil rights lawsuit that he still faces.
“But very briefly, though, I want to offer my condolences to the Floyd family. There will be other information in the future that would be of interest. And I hope things give you some peace of mind, ”he said, without further details.
Chauvin’s attorney, Eric Nelson, called Floyd’s death “tragic” and that “Chauvin’s brain is littered with hypotheses” of the day.
“What if I just don’t agree to go that day?” What if things had turned out differently? What if I never answered that call? What if and if and if?
Floyd’s family members spoke up and expressed their sadness over his death. They asked for the maximum sentence.
“We don’t want to see slaps on the wrists anymore. We’ve been through this before, ”said Terrence Floyd, one of Floyd’s brothers, in tears.
Floyd’s nephew Brandon Williams said, “Our family is broken forever. “
And Floyd’s 7-year-old daughter Gianna in a video released in court said if she could say something to her father now it would be, “I miss you and love you. “
Prosecutor Matthew Frank asked the judge to go beyond sentencing guidelines and give Chauvin 30 years in prison, saying “tortured is the right word” for what the officer did to Floyd.
“It’s not a momentary shot, a punch in the face. It’s 9 and a half minutes of cruelty to a man who was helpless and begged just for his life, ”Frank said.
Chauvin’s mother Carolyn Pawlenty took the floor to beg pardon for her son, saying his reputation had been unfairly reduced to that of an “aggressive, heartless and indifferent” and racist person.
“I can tell you that is far from the truth,” she told the judge.
“I want this court to know that none of these things are true and that my son is a good man. She added, “Derek, I want you to know that I have always believed in your innocence, and I will never stray from it.” “
“I’ll be there for you when you get home,” she said.
Concrete barricades, razor wires and National Guard patrols at the courthouse during Chauvin’s three-week trial in the spring disappeared on Friday, reflecting an easing of tensions since the verdict in April.
Still, it was recognized that the conviction was another big step forward for Minneapolis since Floyd’s death on May 25, 2020.
“Between the incident, the video, the riots, the trial – this is the pinnacle,” said Mike Brandt, a local defense attorney who has been following the case closely. “The verdict was huge too, but that’s where the justice falls. “
Chauvin was convicted of unintentional second degree murder, third degree murder and second degree manslaughter for pressing his knee against Floyd’s neck for up to 9 1/2 minutes while the 46 year old black man gasped that he could not breathe and became limp.
Video of a bystander of Floyd’s arrest on suspicion of passing a fake $ 20 bill at a corner store sparked protests around the world and led to scattered violence in Minneapolis and beyond.