Derek Chauvin has been sentenced to federal prison time for violating the civil rights of George Floyd. CBS News reported the former police officer was handed a 21-year-sentence on Thursday (July 7) after he pleaded guilty back in December 2021. He will also be required to pay restitution.
“I really don’t know why you did what you did,” remarked U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson. “To put your knee on a person’s neck until they expired is simply wrong. … Your conduct is wrong and it is offensive.”
The case brought against Chauvin was not only for his actions against George Floyd which resulted in his death. According to the New York Times, in the federal plea agreement, Chauvin acknowledged using excessive force against both Floyd and a teenager in 2017. John Pope was struck by then-officer Chauvin with a flashlight and pinned down by the knee for 15 minutes.
“I was treated like I was not a human being at the hands of Derek Chauvin,” said Pope when speaking at the sentencing hearing. “He made a choice and didn’t care about the outcome. By the grace of God, I lived to see another day.”
George Floyd’s brother, Philonise Floyd, also spoke at the hearing, hoping the judge would deliver the maximum sentence of 25 years.
“I haven’t had a real night’s sleep because of the nightmares I constantly have hearing my brother beg and plead for his life over and over again,” he expressed.
The three other former police officers involved, Tou Thao, J. Alexander Keung, and Thomas Lane, were convicted in May on federal civil rights charges in Floyd’s killing. They have not been sentenced.
Chauvin is already serving more than 22 years in state prison for murder for the death of George Floyd. In June, Judge Peter Cahill ordered Chauvin to serve 22.5 years behind bars with credit for 199 days served. If Chauvin is ever released from prison, he is prohibited from possessing firearms for the remainder of his life and must provide a DNA sample and register as a predatory offender.
Ahead of the sentencing, President Joe Biden signed an executive order on policing named in honor of George Floyd in May. Measures in the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act include a new national law enforcement accountability database to track records of misconduct, a mandate for all federal agents to wear and activate body cameras while on patrol, a ban on chokeholds, a restriction on no-knock warrants, and the tightening of use-of-force policies to emphasize de-escalation and the duty to intervene to stop another officer.
“This executive order is going to deliver the most significant police reform in decades,” remarked Biden. “It applies directly, under law, to only 100,000 federal law enforcement officers — all the federal law enforcement officers. And though federal incentives and best practices they’re attached to, we expect the order to have significant impact on state and local law enforcement agencies as well.”