1:04 PM PDT, June 25, 2021
Derek Chauvin was sentenced to 22.5 years in prison Friday for the May 2020 killing of George Floyd. Two months ago, the former police officer was found guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
The fatal arrest, in which Chauvin was captured in harrowing video kneeling on Floyd’s neck for over nine minutes, prompted widespread protests against police brutality and renewed a national reckoning over the role of policing in the Black community and the country at-large.
Exactly 13 months after Floyd’s killing, Chauvin appeared in court to learn his fate. Since the verdict, he has been in an isolation cell in the Oak Park Heights Maximum Security Prison, 25 miles from Minneapolis.
Ahead of the sentencing, four of Floyd’s loved ones — his 7-year-old daughter, nephew and two brothers — gave victim impact statements. The adult family members asked the judge for the maximum possible penalty.
“Our family is forever broken. And one thing we cannot get back is George Floyd,” Floyd’s nephew Brandon Williams said.
Chauvin’s mother Carolyn Pawlenty also spoke publicly for the first time, telling the judge that she stands by her son and believes he is innocent.
“I have always believed in your innocence and I will never waiver from that,” she said, speaking directly to Chauvin.
Prosecutors had sought a 30-year sentence, telling the judge in court papers that Chauvin acted with particular cruelty that shocked the conscience of the nation.
Chauvin’s attorneys asked for probation, saying in a sentencing memo that what he did to Floyd was an error made in good faith — not intentional.
The three other officers charged in connection with Floyd’s killing are set for trial next March.