Derek Chauvin has been sentenced to 22.5 years behind bars for the murder of George Floyd. The former Minneapolis police officer appeared in court on Friday, June 25 as Judge Peter A. Cahill of Hennepin County District Court delivered the sentence. Cahill noted that the decision included 10 years longer than the presumptive sentence for his offense since Chauvin was guilty of abuse of power among other aggravating factors, the New York Times reports.
Judge Cahill insisted his sentencing would not be based on emotion. While Floyd’s family and members of the public have been desperate to see justice served for Chauvin’s callous crime, Cahill said that his sentencing was based purely on the law. “But at the same time,” he said, “I want to acknowledge the deep and tremendous pain that all of the families are feeling, especially the Floyd family.”
Chauvin expressed “condolences” to the Floyd family in court. However, he stopped short of addressing them directly given that anything he says could be used against him in future civil suits. “Due to some additional legal matters at hand, I’m not able to give a full formal statement at this time,” Chauvin said. “But, very briefly, I want to give my condolences to the Floyd family.”
Chauvin’s mother spoke on his behalf in court. Speaking publicly for the first time, she insisted her son was not racist and was in fact a “good man” who was completely innocent of the murder charges he’d been convicted of. Carolyn Pawlenty begged the judge for leniency, claiming that the media and the prosecution team had tried to make Chauvin into something he’s not.
Chauvin’s lawyers had been pushing for probation and time served. They didn’t believe Chauvin should spend a day behind bars, but the prosecution was urging a 20-year sentence. Thankfully, justice has been served and Chauvin will now spend 22.5 years of his life in prison. While that can never bring back Floyd or heal the damage this kind of racist behavior in the police force is causing every single day in black and minority communities across the US (and across the world), it’s one small step towards accountability.