Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin has been sentenced to 22 years and 6 months in prison for his murder of George Floyd last year. Judge Peter Cahill explained the sentence is based on Chauvin’s “abuse of a position of trust and authority, and also the particular cruelty shown.” Chauvin was convicted of three charges in April: second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and manslaughter.
It was Mr Floyd’s murder that sparked the series of Black Lives Matter protests last year after a video of his death, recorded by passer-by Darnella Frazier, emerged online.
For Mr Floyd’s sister, Bridgett Floyd, Chauvin’s sentence “shows that matters of police brutality are finally being taken seriously,” though there is still “a long way to go.” Lawyer Ben Crump tweeted, “This historic sentence brings the Floyd family and our nation one step closer to healing by delivering closure and accountability.”
Chauvin told the court “I want to give my condolences to Floyd family, there’s going to be some other information in the future that would be of interest and I hope things will give you some peace of mind.”
Hours before the sentencing, the court ruled against a request by the defence team to hold a hearing on jury misconduct or commence a new trial.
Mr Floyd’s nephew, Brandon Williams said “Although Chauvin will be sentenced today and spend time in prison, he will have the luxury of seeing his family again, talking to them, he will likely get to spend time with them upon his release. George’s murder, this trial, and everything in between has been tragically devastating, our family is forever broken and one thing we cannot get back is George Floyd.”
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Allison said that Chauvin’s sentence is “one of the longest a former police officer has ever received” for use of deadly force. Mr Floyd’s brother, Terrence Floyd, demanded that the maximum sentence of 40 years was given. “Why? What were you thinking? What was going through your head when you had your knee on my brother’s neck?” Judge Cahill explained, “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.”
Philip English, is a member of the YCL’s Manchester Branch