Former Minneapolis Police Department officer and Army veteran Derek Chauvin was sentenced to 270 months, or 22-and-a-half years, in prison Friday after being found guilty in April of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the death of George Floyd.
Family members of Floyd spoke to Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill, who presided over the trial, prior to Chauvin’s sentencing, requesting the maximum sentence of 40 years for the former cop.
After the sentencing, President Joe Biden told reporters, “I don’t know all the circumstances that were considered but it seems to me, under the guidelines, that seems to be appropriate.”
Floyd’s 7-year-old daughter, Gianna, said in a video played for the court that if she could say one thing to her dad now, it would be: “I miss you and I love you.”
“We don’t want to see no more slaps on the wrist. We’ve been through that already in my community and my culture,” George’s brother Terrence Floyd said.
Chauvin’s mother, Carolyn Pawlenty, also addressed the court.
“It has been difficult for me to hear and read what the media, public and prosecution team believe Derek to be an aggressive, heartless and uncaring person. I can tell you that is far from the truth,” she said. “My son’s identity has also been reduced to that as a racist. I want this court to know that none of these things are true. And that my son is a good man.”
“The public will never know what a loving and caring man he is, but his family does,” she added. “When you sentence my son, you will also be sentencing me.”
When given the chance to speak, Chauvin offered the Floyd family his condolences, and said more information would be coming out that would hopefully give them “some peace of mind.”
Chauvin was denied his request for a new trial just ahead of his sentencing Friday morning. The district court determined that Chauvin had “failed to demonstrate that the Court abused its discretion or committed error” that led to the defendant being deprived of his constitutional right to a fair trial.
The court also found that Chauvin “failed to establish a … case of juror misconduct or that a juror gave false testimony,” nor did the state engage in “prosecutorial misconduct.”
While the jury worked to determine a verdict in April, Biden had opined on the trial, saying, “I’m praying the verdict is the right verdict. The evidence is overwhelming in my view.”
Last year, viral video showed then-officer Chauvin using his knee to pin Floyd to the ground for more than eight minutes during his arrest until he became motionless. Floyd’s death sparked protests across the country, with many demonstrating in opposition to police brutality.