The former Minneapolis police officer who murdered George Floyd last year was sentenced Friday to 22 and a half years in prison.
In his ruling, Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill cited the ex-officer’s abuse of a position of trust and authority and particular cruelty to Floyd but cautioned that his decision wasn’t based on emotion, sympathy, public opinion or an attempt to send a message, though he did express sympathy to both families.
The sentencing followed pleas from members of Floyd’s family to give Derek Chauvin the “maximum penalty.”
“We don’t wanna see no more slaps on the wrist. We been through that already,” said Terrence Floyd, one of George Floyd’s brothers. “In my community, in my culture, we’ve been through that already: smacks on the wrist. No, no, no, no. Because if it was us, if the roles was reversed, there wouldn’t be no case. It would’ve been open and shut. We’d have been under the jail, for murdering somebody. So we ask for that same penalty for Derek Chauvin.”
Philonise Floyd, George Floyd’s other brother, argued that he and his family “have been given a life sentence” because George will never come back.
“I stand before you today, asking you to please help us find closure by giving Chauvin the maximum sentence possible,” he said, “making sure he does his time consecutively without the possibilities of parole, probation or getting out early for good behavior.”
Chauvin, 45, pinned his knee on Floyd’s neck for roughly nine and a half minutes after police responded to a call about a possible counterfeit $20 bill at a convenience store in May 2020. The fatal encounter, which was captured on cellphone video by a teenager who was awarded a Pulitzer Price special citation earlier this month, set off global protests and nationwide calls for police reform and racial justice.
Chauvin was convicted in April of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. He faced a maximum sentence of 40 years for second-degree murder.