Ex-police officer gets 22.5 years jail term for murder of George Floyd
Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was sentenced to 22 1/2 years in prison for the murder of George Floyd, whose dying gasps under Chauvin’s knee led to the biggest outcry against racial injustice in the US in generations.
The punishment fell short of the 30 years that prosecutors had requested. In imposing the punishment, Judge Peter Cahill went beyond the 12 1/2-year sentence prescribed under state guidelines, citing “your abuse of a position of trust and authority and also the particular cruelty” shown to Floyd. Chauvin showed little emotion when the judge pronounced the sentence.
The fired white officer was convicted of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter for pressing his knee against Floyd’s neck for up to 9 1/2 minutes as the 46-year-old Black man gasped that he couldn’t breathe and went limp on May 25, 2020.
Bystander video of Floyd’s arrest on suspicion of passing a counterfeit USD 20 bill at a corner store prompted protests around the world and led to scattered violence in Minneapolis and beyond.
On Friday, Chauvin, who did not testify at his trial, removed his mask and turned toward the Floyd family, speaking only briefly because of what he called “some additional legal matters at hand” – an apparent reference to the federal civil rights trial he still faces.
“But very briefly, though, I do want to give my condolences to the Floyd family. There’s going to be some other information in the future that would be of interest. And I hope things will give you some some peace of mind,” he said, without elaborating.
In asking that Chauvin be left off on probation, defense attorney Eric Nelson called Floyd’s death “tragic” and said that Chauvin’s “brain is littered with what-ifs” from that day: “What if I just did not agree to go in that day? What if things had gone differently? What if I never responded to that call? What if what if what if?” Floyd’s family members took the stand and expressed sorrow about his death. They asked for the maximum penalty. Also read Why Bitcoin might fail sooner or later
From the family of George Floyd
“We don’t want to see no more slaps on the wrist. We’ve been through that already,” said a tearful Terrence Floyd, one of Floyd’s brothers.
Floyd’s nephew Brandon Williams said: “Our family is forever broken.”
Gianna, the 7-year old daughter of George Floyd in a video played in court, said that if she could say something to her father now, it would be: “I miss you and and I love you.” Prosecutor Matthew Frank asked the judge to exceed sentencing guidelines and give Chauvin 30 years in prison, saying “tortured is the right word” for what the officer did to Floyd.
“This is not a momentary gunshot, punch to the face. This is 9½ minutes of cruelty to a man who was helpless and just begging for his life,” Frank said.
Chauvin’s mother, Carolyn Pawlenty, appeared in court to plead for mercy for son, saying his reputation has been unfairly reduced to that of “an aggressive, heartless and uncaring person” and a racist.
“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 I have always believed in your innocence, and I will never waver from that.” “I will be here for you when you come home,” she said.