Derek Chauvin, the White former Minneapolis police officer convicted in the cold-blooded murder of George Floyd, a Black man, has been sentenced to serve 22.5 years in prison.
Prosecutors had asked for a 30 year sentence, and Chauvin’s attorney asked for probation and time served. Chauvin was convicted of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
Chauvin has no prior criminal record. State guidelines say that for such a person, the presumptive sentence for both second-degree and third-degree murder is 12 1/2 years. The judge was given discretion to hand down a sentence between 10 years and eight months and 15 years for each.
Chauvin made a brief statement during his sentencing hearing.
“I want to give my condolences to the Floyd family,” he said. “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.”
He kept the same look on his face throughout his entire trial; the look of a bewildered man who seemed to not understand why he was in court. It was a far different man who appeared on camera, seemingly fueled with hate.
On May 25, 2020, Floyd allegedly passed a counterfeit $20 bill to a clerk at a Minneapolis convenience store. The clerk called police and Chauvin was one of four police officers who arrived on the scene.
After a bit of resistance, Chauvin and three other officers placed Floyd on the ground, with Chauvin placing his knee on Floyd’s neck and the other officers leaning on his back.
For 9 minutes and 29 seconds, the officers remained there, as Floyd first begged for air and begged more for mercy as a crowd of bystanders gathered, horrified and helpless.
The crowd begged the officers to get off Floyd, who began calling out for his deceased mother to help him. Chauvin looked directly at the onlookers and into their recording cellphones, refusing to remove his knee off Floyd’s neck until the Black man stopped breathing.
Nothing seemed to make him move.
After Floyd’s death, protests against police brutality, especially towards Black people, quickly spread across the United States and internationally.
Houston became front and center in the controversy, as Floyd’s family live in the city.
Floyd grew up in Houston, attending Jack Yates High School, playing football and basketball throughout high school and college. He was a hip hop artist and served as a mentor in his religious community. Between 1997 and 2005, he had a few run-ins with the law, and in 2014, he moved to the Minneapolis area, residing in the nearby suburb of St. Louis Park, and worked as a truck driver and bouncer.
In 2020, he lost his job as a truck driver, and then his security job during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The City of Minneapolis settled a wrongful death lawsuit with Floyd’s family for $27 million.