Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin has been sentenced to 270 months, or 22-and-a-half years, in prison for the murder of George Floyd. He was given 199 day credit for time already served. Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill handed down the sentence Friday afternoon following victim impact statements and after a Minneapolis jury in April found Chauvin guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter following the May 2020 killing of Floyd. Hours before the sentencing, Cahill denied a request from Chauvin's attorney for a new trial.
Prior to the Friday sentencing, prosecutors for or the state of Minnesota requested a 30-year prison sentence, saying it "would properly account for the profound impact of Defendant's conduct on the victim, the victim's family, and the community." In a memo filed with the District Court of Hennepin County on Wednesday, June 2, it was noted that the requested sentencing "twice the upper end of the presumptive sentencing range." As Chauvin has no criminal history, the presumptive sentence for a person like him is 12-and-a-half years or second-degree murder. After the memo was filed, Chauvin's attorney, Eric Nelson, argued for a lesser sentence.
"Mr. Chauvin asks the Court to look beyond its findings, to his background, his lack of criminal history, his amenability to probation, to the unusual facts of this case, and to his being a product of a 'broken' system," he wrote in a filing. "Mr. Chauvin's offense is best described as an error made in good faith reliance his own experience as a police officer and the training he had received -- not intentional commission of an illegal act…. A stringent probationary sentence with incarceration limited to time served would achieve the purposes of the sentence in this case."
Friday's sentencing came more than a year after Floyd's death. Floyd, an unarmed Black man, had been arrested on May 25, 2020. Video captured by a teenage witness showed Chauvin kneeling on Floyd's neck and back as he lay on the ground handcuffed. Chauvin knelt on his neck for 9 minutes and 29 seconds, during which time Floyd, 46, repeatedly said, "I can't breathe." He eventually fell unconscious and was later declared dead, his death sparking global protests against police brutality and racial injustice.
Chauvin and the three other officers on the scene – Tou Thao, Thomas Lane and Alexander Kueng – were later charged in connection to Floyd's death. After 10 hours of deliberation, a jury composed of six white, four Black, and two multiracial jurors found Chauvin guilty on all three charges he faced. He has been in a maximum-security prison since his conviction.