Chauvin Sentenced to 22.5 Years for Murder of George Floyd

June 25, 2021 by Dan McCue
Supporters gather next to the spot where George Floyd was killed, during the sentencing hearing of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for Floyd's murder, Friday, June 25, 2021, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

MINNEAPOLIS – Former Minnesota police officer Derek Chauvin was sentenced to 22 and a half years in prison on Friday for the widely publicized murder of George Floyd outside a Minneapolis bodega.

The sentence, delivered by Judge Peter Cahill of the Hennepin County District Court, came 13 months after a cellphone video captured Chauvin pressing his knee on Floyd’s neck for nine minutes and 29 seconds, despite Floyd saying multiple times that he could not breathe.

Chauvin was convicted on April 20, and the sentence was handed down after emotional statements in court Friday by members of Floyd’s family and Chauvin’s mother.

Though Cahill explained his sentence was based not on “emotion or sympathy,” but on the law, he went on to acknowledge “the deep and tremendous pain that all the families are feeling, especially the Floyd family.

“You have our sympathies. And I acknowledge and hear the pain you’re feeling. I acknowledge the pain not only of those in this courtroom, but the Floyd family who are outside this courtroom and other members of the community,” the judge said as he read from his 22-page memorandum.

Chauvin, who was convicted on all three charges he faced — second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter — spoke only briefly during Friday’s hearing.

“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. I hope things will give you some peace of mind,” he said.

Chauvin has been behind bars since the conclusion of his three-week trial. Officials said he was being kept in solitary confinement for his own safety.

At the sentencing, Floyd’s daughter Gianna Floyd, nephew Brandon Williams and brothers Terrence Floyd and Philonise Floyd all gave victim impact statements.

“I ask about him all the time,” 7-year-old Gianna Floyd said over a video call. “I want to play with him, have fun, go on a plane ride.”

Carolyn Pawlenty, Chauvin’s mother, addressed the court and described her son as a good man and devoted police officer. 

Ahead of the sentencing on Friday, Chauvin’s defense attorney Eric Nelson filed a motion requesting a new trial, claiming Chauvin was deprived of his constitutional right to a fair trial. 

He argued that Cahill should’ve allowed the trial to take place in a different location and that the jurors should have been sequestered for the duration of the entire trial, instead of only during their deliberations, due to the large public interest in the case. 

Nelson also claimed that a juror gave a false testimony during the selection process and that the state engaged in prosecutorial misconduct. 

Cahill was unconvinced and ruled that Nelson failed to prove any of his allegations and denied his request for a new trial.

Despite Friday’s sentencing, the case of the murder of George Floyd is far from over.

Chauvin has 90 days to appeal the decision — a move he and his defense team are likely to make in light of his bid for a new trial today. 

The Minnesota Court of Appeals will then have a year to decide to affirm or overturn the conviction.

Chauvin and the three other former officers present for Floyd’s murder, Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao, are also facing federal civil rights charges.

The criminal trial for the three other former police officers is scheduled for March.

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