On Friday, Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer accused of killing George Floyd, a black man, was sentenced to 22 and half years in prison.
In April, Derek was convicted of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter after a three-week trial by 12 jury persons consisting of 6 black and six white.
Derek Chauvin pressed his knee against Floyd’s neck for up to 9 and half minutes which led to the death of Floyd and triggered protests all over the world in the name of black lives matter.
After emotional testimony from Floyd’s family and Chauvin’s mother, along with brief condolences from Chauvin himself, Judge Peter Cahill said the sentence was not based on emotion, sympathy, or public opinion.
The judge, while passing sentence, said, “I’m not basing my sentence on public opinion. I’m not basing it on the attempt to send any messages. The job of a trial court judge is to apply the law to specific facts and to deal with individual cases.”
Chauvin could be released after serving two-thirds of his sentence, or about 15 years if he shows good behavior, said the judge.
Prosecutor asked for a 30-year sentence for Derek Minnesota sentencing guidelines recommended Chauvin be sentenced to 12 and 1/2 years, given he has no criminal record. The judge, by citing aggravating factors, justified additional 10 years sentence.
Defense attorney Eric Nelson asked the judge to consider the aggravating factors and the mitigating factors. Chauvin did not come into this trial as a “career criminal” but lived “an honorable life,” Nelson argued to no avail.
“For a police officer, going 10 years beyond the guidelines for this crime due to those aggravating circumstances is a pretty stiff and an extraordinarily unusual sentence,” Al Jazeera correspondent John Hendren reported from Minneapolis.
The family members of both George Floyd and Derek Chauvin also addressed the court and said their words.
Floyd’s seven-year-old daughter also addressed the court during the hearing.
“What was going through your head as you had your knee on my brother’s neck?” asked Floyd’s brother. He told the judge he wanted the maximum sentence. “We don’t want to see no more slaps on the wrist. We’ve been through that already.”
Derek Chauvin, in his address, said he could not give a full statement due to other legal matters.
“But very briefly though, I do want to give my condolences to the Floyd family,” he said. “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. Thank you.”