MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – Former police officer Derek Chauvin was sentenced for the murder of George Floyd Friday.
At the end of a final chapter in a trial that has been watched around the world, a judge in Minneapolis sentenced Chauvin to 22.5 years in prison. He received credit for time served and will be prohibited from owning or possessing firearms for the rest of his life.
Chauvin’s defense team asked the judge for probation with time served. The prosecution wanted 30 years in prison.
The maximum sentence for the most serious offense Chauvin faces, unintentional second-degree murder, is 40 years.
For Floyd’s family, the sentencing marks the end of an emotional trial process.
George Floyd’s cousin, Shareeduh Tate, said, “No sentence given is going to be justice for us, so we can only hope and pray that the maximum is given.”
Before the judge handed down the sentence, he heard several victim impact statements. Chauvin also had the opportunity to speak. In a short statement, he said in part, “I do want to give my condolences to the Floyd family. There’s gonna be some other information in the future that would be of interest, and I hope things will give you some peace of mind.”
He is still facing federal civil rights charges.
Impassioned protests erupted last summer after video showed Chauvin kneeling on George Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes. Floyd can be heard on the tape saying he can’t breathe.
During the three-week trial, the jury heard from 44 witnesses. In the end, they found Chauvin guilty of unintentional second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter. The verdict, celebrated by many, also provided a measure of accountability for Floyd’s family.
Chauvin is now in solitary confinement at the state’s only maximum-security prison.
As for how much time Chauvin faced, given that he doesn’t have a record, state guidelines call for between 10 and a half to 15 years in prison. But the judge ruled that there were aggravating factors in Floyd’s death which allows him to go beyond those recommendations, such as abuse of power.
Derek Chauvin is the first police officer involved in the Floyd case to go on trial. There are still three others.
Their trial was originally set to start in August, but a judge delayed it to allow the federal case against them and Chauvin to go first. He also wanted to provide some distance between their trial and Chauvin’s sentencing.