Derek Chauvin Sentenced to 22.5 Years After Heart-Wrenching Victim Impact Statements

Derek Chauvin Sentencing (Credit: YouTube/ABC)

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was sentenced Friday to 22½ years in prison for killing George Floyd.

Prosecutors had requested 30 years. Instead, Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill gave Chauvin just over two decades. With good behavior, he could be eligible for parole in 15 years.

In the sentencing carried across the broadcast networks and cable news, Cahill said his decision was not “based on emotion.” Before the judge announced his decision, some of Floyd’s family members gave emotional victim impact statements — including his seven-year-old daughter Gianna Floyd.

“I ask about him all the time,” Gianna said via remote video. The little girl then shared that her dad used to help her brush her teeth and they often played games together. Asked what she would say to her father, she responded: “It would be I miss him and I love him.”

[Watch the video below]

Chauvin, 45, sat silently as he watched Floyd’s relatives speak.

“Any family member that has went through this, we are part of a fraternity of families… it’s not one of those fraternities that you enjoy,” Floyd’s brother, Terrence Floyd, said through tears. He then turned his attention to Chauvin. “I wanted to know from the man himself, why? What were you thinking? What was going through your head when you had your knee on my brother’s neck?”

Terrence [shown above] called for the maximum sentence. “We don’t want to see another slap on the wrist,” he said.

Chauvin’s mother, Carolyn Pawlenty, also spoke and said her son is “a good man.”

“Derek devoted 19 years of his life to the Minneapolis Police Department. 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,” she said. “My son’s identity has also been reduced to that of a racist. I want this court to know that none of these things are true and that my son is a good man.”

Chauvin later told the court he wasn’t able to give a full statement because of pending legal issues, but said: “I want to give my condolences to the Floyd family.”

On May 25, 2020, Chauvin placed his knee on George Floyd’s neck for over 9 minutes while arresting him on suspicion of passing a counterfeit $20 bill at a neighborhood store. The then-officer was recorded by onlookers, slowly squeezing the life out of Floyd’s body as the Black man, and the people watching, pleaded for the officer to stop.

Floyd’s brother, Philonise Floyd, said he continues to have nightmares from watching the video of George’s final moments. “George’s life mattered,” Philonise said through tears. “Chauvin had no regard for human life — George’s life. I ask you today to please give us closure by giving Chauvin the maximum sentence.”

Floyd’s death led to protests around the world and a racial reckoning here in the U.S.

Derek Chauvin, who is white, was found guilty on April 20, on all counts, including second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

Chauvin is still awaiting trial on federal civil rights charges in the case, along with three other fired officers. Those three officers are also awaiting their state court trials.

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