Two months after he was found guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree murder in the death of George Floyd, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was sentenced to 22 and a half years in prison on Friday (June 25).
The sentence is the highest for a former Minnesota police officer in regards to murder or manslaughter charges.
Chauvin initially requested a new trial ahead of being sentenced for his role in Floyd’s death, but Judge Peter Cahill ruled against the post-verdict notion. In his ruling, Cahill noted Chauvin “failed to demonstrate … the Court abused its discretion or committed error such that Defendant was deprived of his constitutional right to a fair trial.”
Additionally, he ruled Chauvin failed to demonstrate prosecutorial or juror misconduct.
During a final statement, Chauvin expressed remorse for his actions and apologized to the Floyd 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.”
After Chauvin was found guilty on April 20, prosecutors recommended he receive a 30-year sentence, which would be the maximum sentence levied against a former Minneapolis police officer. Chauvin receiving the full sentence in the eyes of prosecutors would “properly account for the profound impact of Defendant’s conduct on the victim, the victim’s family, and the community.”
In closing statements, Minnesota Assistant Attorney General Matthew Frank said, “This case wasn’t about police officers, all police officers. It wasn’t about policing. This case was about Derek Chauvin disregarding all that training he received and assaulting Mr. Floyd until he suffocated to death.”
He added, “Mr. Chauvin abused his position of trust and authority as a police officer by doing just that — just disregarding all of his training.”
Floyd’s family delivered impact statements ahead of Chauvin’s sentencing as did Chauvin’s mother.
Jurors stated they watched Floyd “die over and over again” throughout the course of the trial, reliving the events of May 25, 2020 when Chauvin pressed his knee against Floyd’s neck for 9 minutes and 29 seconds. The 46-year-old Floyd gasped while underneath Chauvin’s knee, begging for his mother and telling everyone, “I can’t breathe.”
Floyd’s death was captured on cell phone video by 17-year-old Darnella Fraizer and sparked a global movement of protests and unrest regarding policing of Black Americans, calls for an end to police brutality, the concept of policing and illustrated a view many Black people have said they’ve experienced in their interactions with police officers.
Under Minnesota law, Chauvin faced up to 40 years behind bars on the second-degree murder charge, up to 25 years for the third-degree murder charge and 10 years for manslaughter. Due to the former officer having no prior criminal record, sentencing guidelines recommend he serve 12 and a half years in prison for each of the murder charges and four years for manslaughter. The sentences would run consecutively, meaning he would serve them at the same time.