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Derek Chauvin sentenced to 22.5 years in prison for murdering George Floyd

by Nate Morris

Three hundred and ninety six days after murdering George Floyd in the middle of a Minneapolis intersection, Derek Chauvin has been sentenced to 22.5 years in prison.

Chauvin’s sentencing comes eight weeks after he was found guilty on manslaughter and murder charges in Floyd’s death. 

On May 25, 2020, Derek Chauvin, then a Minneapolis police officer, killed George Floyd when he knelt on his neck for more than nine minutes. The brutal murder sparked protests around the world.

Floyd family makes emotional victim impact statements

At the sentencing hearing, the state opened up for victim statements. One by one, friends and family of George Floyd shared how his murder has impacted them. 

Gianna Floyd, George’s daughter, spoke to the court via video about how she loved and missed her father.

“Do you wish your dad was here?” an attorney asked her. 

“Yeah, but he is.” Gianna responded. 

“In his spirit?” the attorney asked. 

“Yes.”

Gianna went on to say that if her dad was here now, she’d just want to “play with him again.”

Brandon Williams, Floyd’s cousin, also testified before the court. He said that, even though Derek Chauvin will spend time in jail, “he will still have the luxury of spending time with his family when he is released.”

“It’s a luxury my younger cousin Gianna will not have.”

Philonise Floyd, George’s brother, said he can’t sleep because he “keeps having nightmares” about his brother’s death. 

Floyd got emotional as he spoke about all the things George will miss in Gianna’s life. 

“Daughters are a daddy’s first love,” he said. “George won’t be there for all those special moments.”

Chauvin’s conviction and sentencing a rare occurrence

State guidelines outlined a 10 to 15 year sentence for second degree murder, the most severe crime for which Chauvin was charged. However, because the jury found grounds for charging him on aggravated factors, the judge had grounds to extend the sentence beyond that time. 

Chauvin’s defense attorneys put forth an appalling recommendation that he be released on probation to avoid jail time. Conversely, the state has asked the court for a 30 year sentence.

Derek Chauvin’s mother issued an appeal to the court as well, pleading for a lighter sentence. Chauvin’s mother insisted her son was innocent, despite the jury’s decision and the video showing Floyd’s murder.

“When you sentence Derek, you sentence me,” she said. “When Derek is released from prison, it is likely that her father and I will no longer be here.”

His mother expressed no remorse to the Floyd family in her statement.

Hours before his sentencing hearing, Chauvin’s request for a new trial was denied by a Hennepin County judge.

When the hearing concluded, Chauvin was immediately remanded into custody to begin his sentence.

According to CNN, Chauvin is only the eighth officer to be convicted of murder for killing someone while on the job since 2005.  Activists and community leaders continue calling for systemic change, including the George Floyd Justice and Policing Bill, to increase accountability for police officers nationwide.

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