Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who held his knee against George Floyd for almost nine minutes, has been sentenced to 22 and a half years in prison for intentional second degree murder.
Judge Peter Cahill, who has served in Hennepin County for 14 years gave his explanation for the sentencing saying the sentence was based upon Chauvin’s “abuse of a position of trust and authority and also the particular cruelty shown to George Floyd.”
Cahill could’ve sentenced Chauvin to probation, which was requested by his attorney or more than 30 years in prison, which was favored by prosecutors. Additionally, Chauvin is prohibited from carrying firearms, ammunition and explosives for the rest of his life and has to register as a predatory offender.
Cahill gave Chauvin credit for199 days already served.
Multiple members of Floyd’s family gave witness impact statements Friday including his brother Terrence Floyd’s nephew Brandon Williams and Floyd’s daughter Gianna, who said in her statement “I want to play with him, have fun, go on a plane ride,” she said in the video.
“We used to have dinner every single night before we went to bed,” Gianna added. “My daddy always used to help me brush my teeth.”
Chauvin spoke briefly, but only to say “I want to give my condolences to the Floyd family.” Chauvin’s mother, Carolyn Pawlenty also gave a statement.
“I want this court to know that none of these things are true and that my son is a good man,” Pawlenty said. “He has a big heart and he always has put others before his own. The public will never know the loving and caring man he is. But his family does.”
The incident took place last May, police were called to a grocery store after a clerk accused Floyd of using a counterfeit $20 bill to pay for cigarettes. Four officers, J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane Tou Thou and Chauvin responded to the incident.
At some point, Kueng, Lane and Chauvin restrained Floyd while Thou kept the crowd from interfering, while on the ground, Floyd began complaining he was unable to breathe. Floyd became more distressed and began complaining of breathing difficulties and Chauvin’s knee on his neck, and expressing fear of imminent death.
Bystanders began recording what was transpiring and also yelled at Chauvin to get off of Floyd, who began laying motionless before Kueng went to check his pulse and did not find one.
Floyd’s death, along with the death of Breonna Taylor, kicked off national and worldwide protests in support of the Black Lives Matter movement and led to a rise in calls to defund police departments and budgets and adding more money to social issues such as drug prevention and homelessness.
While the crowd around the courthouse wasn’t as large as it was for the verdict, there were still a healthy number of protestors and activists around the courthouse waiting for the sentencing.