Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin has been sentenced for the murder of George Floyd. Judge Peter Cahill ordered Chauvin to serve 22.5 years behind bars with credit for 199 days served. He is prohibited from possessing firearms for the remainder of his life, provide a DNA sample and register as a predatory offender. The family requested the maximum penalty.
“I have reviewed the presentence investigation and carefully considered all the facts in the case of the law,” said Judge Cahill as he gave his ruling.
“Determining the appropriate sentence in any case and in this case is a legal analysis,” he shared explaining why he delivered his commentary in a 22-page memorandum that shares how he determined the sentence. “This sentence is not based on emotion or sympathy, but at the same time I want to acknowledge the deep and tremendous pain that all the families are feeling, especially the Floyd family,” Judge Cahill continued.
“I ask how did my dad get hurt,” said Gianna Floyd in her victim impact statement played to the court by video before the sentencing in the NBC News live stream. She continued, “I miss you and I love you.”
Brandon Williams, nephew of George Floyd added, “The sudden murder of George has forever traumatized us…it has been truly unimaginable.”
“Over this last year and months, I actually talked to a few people and I wanted to know from the man himself why? What were you thinking? What was going through your head when you had your knee on my brother’s neck?” said Terrence Floyd, George Floyd’s brother, in his emotional testimony. “When you knew that he posed no threat anymore when he was handcuffed, why you didn’t at least give up?”
He continued, “On behalf of me and my family, we seek the maximum penalty. We don’t want to see no more slaps on the wrist.”
Philonise Floyd, George Floyd’s other brother also spoke.
“I haven’t had a real nice sleep because of the nightmares I constantly have hearing my brother beg and plead for his life, over and over again,” he shared. “I have had to sit through each day of Officer Derek Chauvin’s trial and watch the video of George Floyd dying, over and over again.”
He continued through tears, “I been lifting my voice tirelessly every day so that George’s death will not be in vain…George’s life mattered.”
The prosecution delivered a statement hammering in on the aggravated circumstances of the crime.
“He was suffocated there’s no other way to say it. That is particularly cruel. This is 9 and a half minutes of cruelty to a man who is helpless and begging for his life,” said Assistant Minnesota Attorney General Matthew Frank.
He continued, “it is particularly bad to commit a crime in front of children…and here you have a couple of teenage girls and a nine-year-old girl. How are they going to process this? standing feet from a man getting suffocated by police officers…The children were not only present watching a man die…and at one point Mr. Chauvin grabs his mace to keep them [bystanders] back, how does a child look at that.”
Carolyn Pawlenty, Derek Chauvin’s mother spoke on behalf of her son.
“Derek devoted 19 years of his life to the Minneapolis police department,” she said. “My son’s identity has also been reduced to that of a racist. I want this court to know that none of these things are true and that my son is a good man. Derek always dedicated his life and time to the police department.”
She continued, “Derek is a quiet, thoughtful, honorable, and selfless man. He has a big heart and he always has put others before his own…I believe a lengthy sentence will not serve Derek well. When you sentence my son you are also sentencing me.”
Chauvin’s legal team had hoped he would do minimal time in prison. In early June, lawyers requested the former officer be issued probation. VIBE reported defense attorney Eric Nelson claimed Chauvin’s age, support from family, and lack of a prior criminal record justified the request for probation and time served.
“In spite of the notoriety surrounding this case, the Court must look to the facts. They all point to the single most important fact: Mr. Chauvin did not intend to cause George Floyd’s death. He believed he was doing his job,” Nelson wrote.
Chauvin himself spoke, offering condolences, not apologies, to the Floyd family, limiting his statement due to legal restraints.
As VIBE previously reported, in April, Chauvin was convicted of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter for the violent death of Floyd. He was found guilty by a 12-person jury consisted of four white women, two white men, three Black men, one Black woman, and two mixed-race women.
Three other ex-Minneapolis officers—J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane, and Tou Thao—were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter for their roles in George Floyd’s death. They are all expected to stand trial together in August.