Former Minneapolis white police officer Derek Chauvin has been sentenced to 22.5 years in prison for the brutal murder of African-American George Floyd last year that started a movement against racial injustice and police brutality in the United States.
Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill handed down the sentence on Friday afternoon. The punishment fell short of the 30 years that prosecutors had requested.
“Determining the appropriate sentence, in any case, and in this case is a legal analysis. It's applying the rule of law to the facts of an individual and specific case,” Cahill said from the Hennepin County courthouse just after 2:30 p.m., local time.
“What the case is, or what the sentence is not based on emotion word sympathy. At the same time I want to acknowledge, deep in tremendous pain, but all the families are feeling especially the Floyd family.”
Outside the courthouse, many people cursed the verdict in disgust, saying the sentence was long enough.
“Let us not feel that we’re here to celebrate,” said civil rights leader the Rev. Al Sharpton. “Justice would have been George Floyd never having been killed. Justice would have been the maximum. We got more than we thought only because we have been disappointed so many times before.”
Earlier, the family of Floyd, who was killed by US police in May 2020, had asked for the maximum punishment for Chauvin.
“We don’t want to see no more slaps on the wrist. We’ve been through that already,” a tearful Terrence Floyd, one of Floyd’s brothers, said on Friday, according to The Associated Press.
Floyd’s nephew Brandon Williams said: “Our family is forever broken.” And Floyd’s 7-year-old daughter, Gianna, told the court in a pre-recorded video message that if she could say something to her father now, it would be: “I miss you and and I love you.”
The 45-year-old is also awaiting trial on federal civil rights charges in Floyd’s death, along with three other fired officers who have yet to have their state trials, AP reported.
Prosecutor Matthew Frank asked the judge to give Chauvin 30 years in prison, saying “tortured is the right word” for what the officer did to Floyd, the 46-year-old Black man who died in May 2020 after Chauvin placed his knee on the victim’s neck even as he pleaded, “I can't breathe.”
“This is not a momentary gunshot, punch to the face. This is 9½ minutes of cruelty to a man who was helpless and just begging for his life,” Frank said.
Chauvin offered condolences to Floyd’s family and said he hopes more will come out in the future to give them “some peace of mind.”
He addressed the court briefly and said he could not say much because of the federal civil rights trial he is still facing.
Chauvin is charged with second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the case that has hogged headlines across the globe.
Floyd’s final moments, which were filmed by a bystander, led to largescale protests in the US against police brutality and institutionalized racism against African-Americans and Asian-Americans.
The teenager whose 2020 video recording of Chauvin kneeling on Floyd's neck before he died in police custody was awarded a 2021 Pulitzer Prize Special Citation earlier this month.
Eighteen-year-old Darnella Frazier’s video was an important piece of evidence used in the trial of Chauvin.
Frazier, then 17-year-old, was visiting the store that Memorial Day with her younger cousin when she saw police officers restraining Floyd on the ground. She recorded the incident on her cell phone as she pleaded with them to get off Floyd, who repeatedly said he couldn't breathe.