Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was sentenced in a federal court Thursday to 21 years in prison for violating George Floyd’s civil rights.
Chauvin previously pleaded guilty to the civil rights violation during Floyd’s May 25, 2020 arrest when the former officer pressed his knee on the back of Floyd’s neck for several minutes. The sentence will run concurrently with his state sentence of 22.5 years after he was convicted for second and third-degree murder, as well as second-degree manslaughter.
The defense asked for 20 years, saying Chauvin accepts responsibility for what he did. Chauvin told Floyd’s family he “wishes all the best” for Floyd’s children during his brief remarks. He did not offer an apology.
“My brother was murdered in broad daylight with a knee to his neck for nine minutes,” Philonese Floyd, George Floyd’s brother, told the judge. The (Floyd) family and I have been given a life sentence, we will never get George back.”
In a court impact statement, Chauvin’s mother said it wasn’t her son’s intent to kill Floyd.
Without the federal plea agreement, Chauvin would have faced a life sentence.
Under Minnesota law, Chauvin will have to serve two-thirds of his sentence. He has appealed the conviction.
In entering his federal plea, Chauvin for the first time admitted that he kept his knee on Floyd’s neck — even as the Black man pleaded, “I can’t breathe,” and then became unresponsive — resulting in Floyd’s death. Chauvin, who is white, admitted he willfully deprived Floyd of his right to be free from unreasonable seizure, including unreasonable force by a police officer, during the May 2020 arrest.
Three other former Minneapolis police officers — Tou Thao, J. Alexander Keung and Thomas Lane — were convicted in February of federal civil rights charges in Floyd’s killing. Magnuson has not set sentencing dates for them.
Lane is also due to be sentenced Sept. 21 after pleading guilty in state court to aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter. Thao and Kueng turned down plea deals and are due to be tried in state court Oct. 24 on aiding and abetting charges.
Lisa Scholfield is a Talker, writer, Journalist and news reporter at Republik City News. My background has been in journalism my entire life, writing community news, investigative series, features, reviews and columns. I believe everyday people should pick up the tools of journalism and inform their communities about the news they need to know.