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Derek Chauvin sentenced to 22.5 years in death of George Floyd

Derek Chauvin, the former police officer who killed George Floyd on a Minneapolis street last year, was sentenced Friday to 22 and half years in prison.

Chauvin, in a light gray suit and tie and white shirt, spoke briefly before the sentence was imposed, offering his “condolences to the Floyd family.”

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. Chauvin, 45, was convicted in April on charges of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter for his role in Floyd’s death.

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At the intersection of Chicago Avenue and 38th Street in Minneapolis, where Floyd took his last breaths, people watched the hearing on mobile phones. Floyd’s sister, Bridgett, who founded the George Floyd Memorial Foundation, said in a statement 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, in a statement, said the “historic sentence” 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.

After members of Floyd’s family delivered victim impact statements, Chauvin stepped to the lectern beside his lawyer and said, “I want to give my condolences to the Floyd family.” He said he could not say more because of pending legal matters.

The sentencing hearing opened with victims’ impact statements, including an emotional video from Floyd’s seven-year-old daughter, Gianna, who wore a bow wrapped around her hair. “I ask about him all the time,” the little girl said, responding to questions about her dad.

“I miss you and I love you,” she said when asked what she would tell her father. Chauvin, in a light gray suit, white shirt and tie, wore a mask as he listened from the defense table. Floyd’s two brothers and a nephew spoke about the birthday parties, graduations and other family milestones that he will miss.

Philonise Floyd said he has nightmares in which he hears his brother pleading for his life and calling out for their mother. He said he relives the video of his brother “being tortured to death” by Chauvin and the smirk on the former cop’s face.

“My family and I have been given a life sentence. We will never get George back,” he said. Philonise wiped tears from his eyes as he spoke about Gianna. Terrence Floyd, another brother, struggled to speak as he asked for the maximum penalty.

“We don’t want to see no more slaps on the wrist,” nephew Brandon Williams said. “We been through that already — in my community, in my culture.” Carolyn Pawlenty, Chauvin’s mother, also grew emotional as she described him as her favorite son.

She said the happiest moments in her life were when Chauvin was born and when she pinned his badge on his uniform for the first time. “Derek, I want you to know I’ve always believed in your innocence, and I will never waver from that,” she said.

Chauvin’s post-verdict motion for a new trial was denied by a judge hours before the hearing.

Hennepin County District Court Judge Peter Cahill ruled Thursday night that Chauvin “failed to demonstrate … the Court abused its discretion or committed error such that Defendant was deprived of his constitutional right to a fair trial.”

Cahill also ruled that Chauvin failed to demonstrate prosecutorial or juror misconduct. Defense attorneys had argued that “errors, abuses of discretion, prosecutorial and jury misconduct” made the trial unfair.

Credit: CNN

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