Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill sentenced Derek Chauvin on Friday to 22.5 years for the murder of George Floyd in May 2020.
The former Minneapolis police officer was found guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in April 2021. Prosecutors successfully argued that a harsher sentence needed to be handed down due to various aggravating factors. As a result, the ruling was a 10-year increase over the recommended sentencing guideline for second-degree murder.
Only brief remarks were made before the sentence was delivered. Cahill said his decision was “not based on emotion or sympathy” and added, “I want to acknowledge the deep and tremendous pain that all the families are feeling, especially the Floyd family.” Victim impact statements were made from members of the Floyd family, including his seven-year-old daughter Gianna.
The harsher sentence was explained by Cahill in a 22-page sentencing memorandum. In concluding his explanation, Cahill wrote:
Part of the mission of the Minneapolis police department is to give citizens “voice and respect.” Here, Mr. Chauvin, rather than pursuing the MPD mission, treated Mr. Floyd without respect and denied him the dignity owed to all human beings and which he certainly would have extended to a friend or neighbor.
Chauvin addressed the court briefly, explaining that other legal matters prevented him from sharing more. He stated, “Very briefly though, I want to give my condolences to the Floyd family, there’s going to be some other information in the future that would be of interest, and I hope some things would give you some peace of mind.”
Prosecutors sought a maximum sentence of 30 years while Chauvin’s attorney, Eric Nelson, requested a probationary sentence and a motion for a new trial. This request was rejected hours before the scheduled sentencing. Under Minnesota’s “Good Time” law, Chauvin could serve the last one-third of his sentence under licensed release.
The other three former Minneapolis police officers involved in Floyd’s death, Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane, and Tou Thao, will be tried together in a trial set to begin August 23. All four officers also face federal civil rights charges.