MINNEAPOLIS – Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was sentenced on Friday to 22.5 years in prison for the murder of George Floyd.
Updated 4:30 p.m. EDT June 25: Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin will face continued isolation in prison during his incarceration for murdering George Floyd.
The Minnesota Department of Corrections declined to say where Chauvin will be taken immediately after sentencing and where he will serve were he given prison time, the Star-Tribune of Minneapolis reported.
With good behavior, Chauvin, 45, could be paroled after serving two-thirds of his sentence, or about 15 years, KSTP reported.
Updated 3:57 p.m. EDT June 25: Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill sentenced Chauvin to 22.5 years in prison. He credited Chauvin with 199 days time served.
Cahill also prohibited Chauvin from owning or possessing firearms and must register as a predatory offender.
Cahill issued a 22-page memorandum in reaching his decision. He said he did not base the sentence on emotion or sympathy.
“What the sentence is not based on is 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,” Cahill told the court before issuing the sentence. “You have our sympathies and I acknowledge the pain that you are feeling.
“It has been painful throughout Hennepin County, throughout the state of Minnesota and throughout the country, but most importantly we need to recognize the pain of the Floyd family.”
Earlier in the hearing, prosecutor Jerry Blackwell presented victim impact statements from George Floyd’s daughter, nephew and brothers. Floyd’s daughter Gianna first spoke in a video statement.
“I ask about him all the time,” she said. “I was asking, ‘how did my dad get hurt?’”
Floyd’s nephew Brandon Williams spoke at the hearing. He said the family’s suffering has been “unimaginable.”
He requested the maximum penalty be imposed.
“The sudden murder of George has traumatized us,” he said.
Floyd’s brother, Terrence Floyd, shook and held back tears as he spoke. He said his family is part of a tragic fraternity made of Black family members killed by police.
He stood before Chauvin and asked him: “Why? What were you thinking? What was going through your head when you had your knee on my brother’s neck?”
He asked for the maximum penalty.
“We don’t want to see any more smacks on the wrist,” Floyd said.
George Floyd’s other brother, Philonise Floyd, wiped tears from his eyes before he started speaking at the hearing.
He was a trucker whose life changed after his brother died.
“I have not had a good night’s sleep,” he said. “For an entire year I had to relive George being tortured to death.”
Updated 3:30 p.m. EDT June 25: Chauvin spoke at the end of the hearing.
Chauvin joined defense attorney Eric Nelson at the lectern.
“At this time, due to some additional legal matters at hand, i am not able to give a full formal statement at this time” Chauvin said. “But very briefly though, I want to give my condolences to the Floyd family. There is going to be some information in the future that will be of interest, that I hope will give you some peace of mind.”
Original report: Chauvin was convicted in April for the murder of George Floyd.
On May 25, 2020, Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck for more than 9 minutes as Floyd repeatedly said he could not breathe, The New York Times reported.
Police had been called when a cashier believed Floyd had given him a counterfeit $20 bill to pay for cigarettes, The Associated Press reported.
Most of the time, counterfeit money is a misdemeanor under Minnesota law and usually involves being issued a ticket, according to the AP.
Floyd was put in handcuffs after being questioned about the cash, but Floyd struggled against officers’ attempts to put him into the police car, telling officers he was claustrophobic, the AP reported.
Eventually, he was placed in the vehicle but kept twisting and moving so police removed him from the car, holding him on the ground.
Chauvin was seen on video placing his knee on Floyd’s neck for 9 minutes and 29 seconds.
Prosecutors said Chauvin killed Floyd with the maneuver. The defense said the former officer was doing what he was trained to do and blamed Floyd’s past illegal drug use and health conditions as the reason he died, the AP reported.
The jury decided Chauvin was responsible, finding him guilty of second-degree murder, the most serious charge, as well as third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, The New York Times reported.
Chauvin was taken to prison and held in solitary confinement until his sentencing.
Prosecutors had asked for 30 years in prison, while the defense asked for probation. The maximum sentence allowed by law is 40 years in prison, the Times reported.
A judge will decide Chauvin’s sentence and could issue a longer sentence than state guidelines allow, due to four aggravating factors including what the judge said was Chauvin’s “cruelty” towards Floyd and Chauvin’s involvement with three other individuals. The judge had said Chauvin abused his authority and killed Floyd in front of children, the Times reported.
The Floyd family was expected to make statements at the hearing. Chauvin is allowed to make a statement. He did not testify during his weeks-long trial but did make a statement outside the presence of the jury.
Any statement Chauvin makes during the sentencing could be used in federal court proceedings and could complicate appeals, the Times reported.
Hours before the sentencing, Judge Peter Cahill denied Chauvin’s request for a new trial. Cahill said the defense did not show the court abused its discretion or that there was prosecutorial misconduct, the AP reported. The defense had argued that pretrial coverage influenced the jury pool and that the trial should not have been held in Minnneapolis.
Defense attorney Eric Nelson also claimed that there was juror misconduct when juror Brandon Mitchell didn’t disclose that he had participated in a march to honor Martin Luther King Jr. Cahill did not agree with Nelson’s allegations, the AP reported.
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