Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis Police officer convicted in the death of George Floyd, was sentenced Friday to 22 and a half years in prison.
In April, Chauvin, 45, was found guilty on three counts: Second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter for kneeling on Floyd’s neck for more than 9 minutes. He is expected to appeal.
The judge said Chauvin’s sentence was based “on your abuse of a position of trust and authority, and also the particular cruelty shown” to Floyd.
Chauvin offered his “condolences to the Floyd family” before the sentence was imposed. “Under Minnesota law, Chauvin will have to serve two-thirds of his sentence, or 15 years — and he will be eligible for supervised release for the remaining seven and a half years,” CNN reported.
Minnesota AG Keith Ellison, in a statement following the sentencing, said: “Today’s sentencing is not justice, but it is another moment of real accountability on the road to justice.”
“The outcome of this case is critically important, but by itself it’s not enough,” he said while asking Congress to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, saying, “Lives are depending upon it.”
Floyd’s sister, Bridgett, who is also the founder of the George Floyd Memorial Foundation, said that the sentence “shows that matters of police brutality are finally being taken seriously.”
“However, we have a long way to go and many changes to make before Black and brown people finally feel like they are being treated fairly and humanely by law enforcement in this country,” she added.
Floyd family attorney Ben Crump described the sentence as “historic”, adding that it brings the family and nation “one step closer to healing by delivering closure and accountability.”
“With Chauvin’s sentence, we take a significant step forward — something that was unimaginable a very short time ago,” he said in a statement.
Floyd’s death triggered a wave of nationwide protests against police brutality and racial discrimination in the United States, with people calling for swift reforms. The protests eventually spread to other countries.