Convicted of murder and manslaughter, former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin was sentenced Friday to 22½ years in prison for killing George Floyd. Chauvin and several of his former colleagues also face federal charges for deprivation of rights under color of law.
On May 25, 2020, Officers Tou Thao, Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng, and Derek Chauvin were recorded on video arresting George Floyd for allegedly using a counterfeit $20 bill. Despite the fact that Floyd’s hands were cuffed behind his back, Chauvin knelt against the back of his neck for nine minutes as several bystanders begged the officers not to kill Floyd.
Floyd repeatedly told the officers that he could not breathe before he lost consciousness and passed away.
The next day, all four officers were terminated from the Minneapolis Police Department. On May 29, 2020, Chauvin was arrested and charged with third degree murder and second degree manslaughter.
In April, Chauvin was convicted on one count of second degree manslaughter, one count of second degree murder, and one count of third degree murder. On Friday, Judge Peter Cahill sentenced him to 270 months in prison.
“But very briefly, though, I do want to give my condolences to the Floyd family,” Chauvin stated during the sentencing on Friday. “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.”
“Minneapolis has been at the center of a centuries-in-the-making reckoning around racial justice,” Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said in a recent statement. “The guilty verdicts handed down in the trial of former officer Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd marked an important step toward accountability from law enforcement that has been far too rare in our criminal justice system. As today’s sentence delivers an additional layer of legal accountability, the work underway to advance meaningful police reforms and structural change must and will continue in full in Minneapolis.”
“Today, Judge Cahill gave Derek Chauvin a historic sentence,” noted Governor Tim Walz on Friday. “This is a positive step toward justice, but our work is not done. We’ve known all along that accountability in the courtroom is not enough.
“The statements today from George Floyd’s family and members of the community were painful but powerful. Now, as Derek Chauvin faces years behind bars, we must come together around our common humanity and continue on towards justice for all.”
In addition to the state charges, Chauvin and his former colleagues also face federal charges of deprivation of rights under color of law during the arrest of George Floyd. Kueng, Lane, and Thao are currently scheduled to begin their first trial in March 2022.