Derek Chauvin Has Been Sentenced To 21 Years

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Cauvin has been sentenced to 21 years in federal prison for violating George Floyd’s civil rights. Senior US District court Judge, Paul Magnuson, originally sentenced Chauvin to 252 months, but subtracted seven months for time served. Chauvin will also be required to pay restitution. 

Chauvin initially pleaded not guilty to the charges but in Dec. 2021, he pleaded guilty to violating Floyd’s civil rights, as well as admitting that he kept a knee on Floyd’s neck after he became unresponsive. 

During the sentencing, Magnuson condemned Chauvin for his actions and told him that he is not only liable for the death of Floyd, but also for destroying the lives of the other three officers involved in Floyd’s death. 

“I really don’t know why you did what you did,” Magnuson said. “To put your knee on a person’s neck until they expired is simply wrong….your conduct is wrong and it is offensive.” 

According to the Justice Department, Chauvin also pleaded guilty to violating the constitutional rights of a then 14-year-old in 2017 by using excessive force, which resulted in bodily injury to the boy. That man filed a lawsuit against Chauvin and the city of Minneapolis in June. 

“This sentence should send a strong message that the Justice Department stands ready to prosecute law enforcement officers who use deadly force without basis,” Assistant Attorney General Clarke said. “…We hope that this sentence provides some small measure of justice for the families and communities impacted.” 

Before his sentencing on Thursday, Chauvin briefly addressed Floyd’s children in court, wishing them “all the best in their lives” and that they have “excellent guidance in becoming good adults,” CBS Minnesota reports. He did not offer an apology. 

Philonise Floyd, the brother of George Floyd, attended the hearing and pleaded with the court for the maximum sentence. Additionally, he explained to the court the nightmares he has had since his brother’s death. 

“I’m looking for closure, and I want to know why.” Philonise said. 

The footage from a Minneapolis street and witnesses who were around the area at that time showed Chauvin kneeling on the Black man’s neck and back while he was handcuffed and lying in the street for more than 9 minutes, gasping for air and telling officers, “I can’t breathe.” 

“I wish he would have just probably said how sorry he was, but that’s not going to bring my brother back,” Philonise continued. “No matter how hard I want him to say different things, it’s not going to bring my brother back.”

Three other former officers were found guilty by a federal jury in Feb. for violating Floyd’s rights on May 25, 2020. 

One officer, Thomas Lane, has pleaded guilty to the charges. The trial of Tou Thao and J. Alexander Kueng is scheduled to begin in October. 

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