Derek Chauvin, the cold-blooded killer who murdered George Floyd, was sentenced Friday to serve 22.5 years in prison.
The White former Minneapolis police officer who became a symbol of racism, hatred and police brutality made a brief statement to the Floyd family during his sentencing hearing.
“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 things will give you some peace of mind,” he said.
Prosecutors had asked for a 30 year sentence, and Chauvin’s attorney asked for probation and time served. Chauvin was convicted of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
Chauvin, 45, has no prior criminal record. State guidelines say that for such a person, the presumptive sentence for both second-degree and third-degree murder is 12 1/2 years. The judge was given discretion to hand down a sentence between 10 years and eight months and 15 years for each.
On May 25, 2020, George Perry Floyd Jr. allegedly passed a counterfeit $20 bill to a clerk at a Minneapolis convenience store. The clerk called police and Chauvin was one of four police officers who arrived to the scene.
Several surveillance cameras showed Floyd putting up some resistance in the beginning, but when Chauvin and the other police officers placed him on the street pavement, he did not fight back. Chauvin then knelt on Floyd’s neck – while the other officers straddled his back for 9 minutes and 29 seconds – as Floyd gasped for air.
Floyd begged for the officers to stop, telling them repeatedly he could not breathe, but Chauvin refused to take his knee off of Floyd’s neck as a crowd of onlookers gathered.
The crowd begged the officers to take pity on Floyd, who began calling out for his deceased mother to help him.
Floyd took his last breath in front of the onlookers, who were filming the entire incident, and still, Chauvin refused to get up.
He calmly remained on Floyd’s neck – seemingly without a care in the world.
After Floyd’s death, protests against police brutality, especially towards Black people, quickly spread across the United States and internationally.
The case hit very close to home for Houstonians.
Floyd grew up in Houston and attended Jack Yates High School, playing football and basketball throughout high school and college. He was a hip hop artist and served as a mentor in his religious community. Between 1997 and 2005, he had a few run-ins with the law, and in 2014, he moved to the Minneapolis area, residing in the nearby suburb of St. Louis Park, and worked as a truck driver and bouncer.
In 2020, he lost his job as a truck driver, and then his security job during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The City of Minneapolis settled a wrongful death lawsuit with Floyd’s family for $27 million.
The trial of the other three officers also charged in Floyd’s death is scheduled for August 2021.