Derek Chauvin sentenced to 22 1/2 years for killing George Floyd

  • In this image taken from video, former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin addresses the court as Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill presides over Chauvin's sentencing, Friday, June 25, 2021, at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis. Chauvin faces decades in prison for the May 2020 death of George Floyd.

    In this image taken from video, former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin addresses the court as Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill presides over Chauvin's sentencing, Friday, June 25, 2021, at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis. Chauvin faces decades in prison for the May 2020 death of George Floyd. (Court TV via AP, Pool)

  • In this image taken from video, former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin, right, accompanied by defense attorney Eric Nelson, addresses the court as Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill presides over Chauvin's sentencing, Friday, June 25, 2021, at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis. Chauvin faces decades in prison for the May 2020 death of George Floyd.

    In this image taken from video, former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin, right, accompanied by defense attorney Eric Nelson, addresses the court as Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill presides over Chauvin's sentencing, Friday, June 25, 2021, at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis. Chauvin faces decades in prison for the May 2020 death of George Floyd. (Court TV via AP, Pool)

  • The Rev. Al Sharpton, right, with hand on coat, along with family members of George Floyd leads a prayer before entering the Hennepin County Government Center for the sentencing of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, Friday, June 25, 2021, in Minneapolis, for the May 2020 death of George Floyd during an arrest in Minneapolis.

    The Rev. Al Sharpton, right, with hand on coat, along with family members of George Floyd leads a prayer before entering the Hennepin County Government Center for the sentencing of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, Friday, June 25, 2021, in Minneapolis, for the May 2020 death of George Floyd during an arrest in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

  • FILE -- In this May 25, 2020, file photo, from police body camera video former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin stands outside Cup Foods in Minneapolis, on May 25, 2020, with a crowd of onlookers behind him. Former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin faces decades in prison when he is sentenced Friday, June 25, 2021, following his murder and manslaughter convictions in the death of George Floyd. Floyd's death, filmed by a teenage bystander as Chauvin pinned Floyd to the pavement for about 9 and a half minutes and ignored Floyd's "I can't breathe" cries until he eventually grew still, reignited a movement against racial injustice that swiftly spread around the world and continues to reverberate.

    FILE -- In this May 25, 2020, file photo, from police body camera video former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin stands outside Cup Foods in Minneapolis, on May 25, 2020, with a crowd of onlookers behind him. Former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin faces decades in prison when he is sentenced Friday, June 25, 2021, following his murder and manslaughter convictions in the death of George Floyd. Floyd's death, filmed by a teenage bystander as Chauvin pinned Floyd to the pavement for about 9 and a half minutes and ignored Floyd's "I can't breathe" cries until he eventually grew still, reignited a movement against racial injustice that swiftly spread around the world and continues to reverberate. (Court TV via AP, Pool, File)

  • A women weeps next to the spot where George Floyd was killed, as people gather during the sentencing hearing of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for Floyd's murder, Friday, June 25, 2021, in Minneapolis. Chauvin faces decades in prison when he is sentenced Friday following his murder and manslaughter convictions in the death of George Floyd.

    A women weeps next to the spot where George Floyd was killed, as people gather during the sentencing hearing of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for Floyd's murder, Friday, June 25, 2021, in Minneapolis. Chauvin faces decades in prison when he is sentenced Friday following his murder and manslaughter convictions in the death of George Floyd.

  • Supporters gather next to the spot where George Floyd was killed, during the sentencing hearing of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for Floyd's murder, Friday, June 25, 2021, in Minneapolis. Chauvin faces decades in prison when he is sentenced Friday following his murder and manslaughter convictions in the death of George Floyd.

    Supporters gather next to the spot where George Floyd was killed, during the sentencing hearing of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for Floyd's murder, Friday, June 25, 2021, in Minneapolis. Chauvin faces decades in prison when he is sentenced Friday following his murder and manslaughter convictions in the death of George Floyd. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

  • In this image taken from video, former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin listens as Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill sentences him to 22 1/2 years in prison, Friday, June 25, 2021, for the May 25, 2020, death of George Floyd, at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis.

    In this image taken from video, former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin listens as Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill sentences him to 22 1/2 years in prison, Friday, June 25, 2021, for the May 25, 2020, death of George Floyd, at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis. (Court TV via AP, Pool)

  • In this image taken from video, Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill presides over the sentencing of former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin Friday, June 25, 2021, at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis. Chauvin faces decades in prison for the May 2020 death of George Floyd.

    In this image taken from video, Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill presides over the sentencing of former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin Friday, June 25, 2021, at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis. Chauvin faces decades in prison for the May 2020 death of George Floyd. (Court TV via AP, Pool)

  • In this image taken from video, former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin addresses the court as Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill presides over Chauvin's sentencing, Friday, June 25, 2021, at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis. Chauvin faces decades in prison for the May 2020 death of George Floyd.

    In this image taken from video, former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin addresses the court as Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill presides over Chauvin's sentencing, Friday, June 25, 2021, at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis. Chauvin faces decades in prison for the May 2020 death of George Floyd. (Court TV via AP, Pool)

  • A person kneels at the spot where George Floyd was killed, as people gather during the sentencing hearing of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for Floyd's murder, Friday, June 25, 2021, in Minneapolis. Chauvin faces decades in prison when he is sentenced Friday following his murder and manslaughter convictions in the death of George Floyd.

    A person kneels at the spot where George Floyd was killed, as people gather during the sentencing hearing of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for Floyd's murder, Friday, June 25, 2021, in Minneapolis. Chauvin faces decades in prison when he is sentenced Friday following his murder and manslaughter convictions in the death of George Floyd. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

  • Attorney Ben Crump hugs Reverend Al Sharpton as he walks into the Hennepin County Government Center for the sentencing of former police officer Derek Chauvin on Friday, June 25, 2021 in Minneapolis. Chauvin is set to learn his fate as a Minnesota judge sentences him for murder in the death of George Floyd.

    Attorney Ben Crump hugs Reverend Al Sharpton as he walks into the Hennepin County Government Center for the sentencing of former police officer Derek Chauvin on Friday, June 25, 2021 in Minneapolis. Chauvin is set to learn his fate as a Minnesota judge sentences him for murder in the death of George Floyd. (AP Photo/Christian Monterrosa)

  • In this image taken from video, Philonise Floyd, brother of George Floyd, becomes emotional during victim impact statements as Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill presides over sentencing, Friday, June 25, 2021, at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis, in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who was convicted in the May 25, 2020, death of George Floyd. (Court TV via AP, Pool)

    In this image taken from video, Philonise Floyd, brother of George Floyd, becomes emotional during victim impact statements as Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill presides over sentencing, Friday, June 25, 2021, at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis, in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who was convicted in the May 25, 2020, death of George Floyd. (Court TV via AP, Pool)

  • Reverend Al Sharpton and Attorney Ben Crump hold a prayer with members of George Floyd's family outside of the Hennepin County Government Center for the sentencing of former police officer Derek Chauvin on Friday, June 25, 2021 in Minneapolis. Chauvin is set to learn his fate as a Minnesota judge sentences him for murder in the death of George Floyd.

    Reverend Al Sharpton and Attorney Ben Crump hold a prayer with members of George Floyd's family outside of the Hennepin County Government Center for the sentencing of former police officer Derek Chauvin on Friday, June 25, 2021 in Minneapolis. Chauvin is set to learn his fate as a Minnesota judge sentences him for murder in the death of George Floyd. (AP Photo/Christian Monterrosa)

 
 
Updated 6/25/2021 3:31 PM

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin was sentenced to 22 1/2 years in prison for the murder of George Floyd, whose dying gasps under Chauvin's knee led to the biggest outcry against racial injustice in the U.S. in generations.

The punishment -- which fell short of the 30 years that prosecutors had requested -- came after Chauvin broke his more than yearlong silence in court to offer condolences to the Floyd family and say he hopes more information coming out will eventually give them "some peace of mind."

 

With good behavior, Chauvin, 45, could be paroled after serving two-thirds of his sentence, or about 15 years.

In imposing the punishment, Judge Peter Cahill went beyond the 12 1/2-year sentence prescribed under state guidelines, citing "your abuse of a position of trust and authority and also the particular cruelty" shown to Floyd.

Chauvin was immediately led back to prison. As with the verdicts in April, he showed little emotion when the judge pronounced the sentence. His eyes moved rapidly around the courtroom, his COVID-19 mask obscuring much of his face.

The fired white officer was convicted of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter for pressing his knee against Floyd's neck for up to 9 1/2 minutes as the 46-year-old Black man gasped that he couldn't breathe and went limp on May 25, 2020.

Bystander video of Floyd's arrest on suspicion of passing a counterfeit $20 bill at a corner store prompted protests around the world and led to scattered violence in Minneapolis and beyond.

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On Friday, Chauvin, who did not testify at his trial, removed his mask and turned toward the Floyd family, speaking only briefly because of what he called "some additional legal matters at hand" -- an apparent reference to the federal civil rights trial he still faces.

"But very briefly, though, I do 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, without elaborating.

In asking that Chauvin be left off on probation, defense attorney Eric Nelson called Floyd's death "tragic" and said that Chauvin's "brain is littered with what-ifs" from that day: "What if I just did not agree to go in that day? What if things had gone differently? What if I never responded to that call? What if what if what if?"

Floyd's family members took the stand and expressed sorrow about his death. They asked for the maximum penalty.

"We don't want to see no more slaps on the wrist. We've been through that already," said a tearful Terrence Floyd, one of Floyd's brothers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Floyd's nephew Brandon Williams said: "Our family is forever broken." And Floyd's 7-year-old daughter, Gianna, in a video played in court, said that if she could say something to her father now, it would be: "I miss you and I love you."

Prosecutor Matthew Frank asked the judge to exceed sentencing guidelines and give Chauvin 30 years in prison, saying "tortured is the right word" for what the officer did to Floyd.

"This is not a momentary gunshot, punch to the face. This is 9½ minutes of cruelty to a man who was helpless and just begging for his life," Frank said.

Chauvin's mother, Carolyn Pawlenty, appeared in court to plead for mercy for son, saying his reputation has been unfairly reduced to that of "an aggressive, heartless and uncaring person" and a racist.

"I can tell you that is far from the truth," she told the judge. "I want this court to know that none of these things are true and that my son is a good man." She added: "Derek, I want you to know I have always believed in your innocence, and I will never waver from that."

"I will be here for you when you come home," she said.

The concrete barricades, razor wire and National Guard patrols at the courthouse during Chauvin's three-week trial in the spring were gone Friday, reflecting an easing of tensions since the verdict in April.

Ahead of the sentencing, the judge agreed with prosecutors that there were aggravating circumstances that could justify a heavier punishment than the recommended 12 1/2 years -- among them, that Chauvin treated Floyd with particular cruelty, abused his position of authority as a police officer and did it in front of children.

Before the sentencing, the judge denied Chauvin's request for a new trial. The defense had argued that the intense publicity tainted the jury pool and that the trial should have been moved away from Minneapolis.

The judge also rejected a defense request for a hearing into possible juror misconduct. Nelson had accused a juror of not being candid during jury selection because he didn't mention his participation in a march last summer to honor the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Prosecutors countered the juror had been open about his views.

Philip Stinson, a criminal justice professor at Bowling Green State University, said 11 nonfederal law officers, including Chauvin, have been convicted of murder for on-duty deaths since 2005. The penalties for the nine who were sentenced before Chauvin ranged from six years, nine months, to life behind bars, with the median being 15 years.

With Chauvin's sentencing, the Floyd family and Black America witnessed something of a rarity: In the small number of instances in which officers accused of brutality or other misconduct against Black people have gone to trial, the list of acquittals and mistrials is longer than the list of sentencings after conviction.

In recent years, the acquittals have included officers tried in the deaths of Philando Castile in suburban Minneapolis and Terence Crutcher in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Two mistrials were declared over the death of Samuel Dubose in Cincinnati.

"That's why the world has watched this trial, because it is a rare occurrence," said Arizona-based civil rights attorney Benjamin Taylor, who has represented victims of police brutality. "Everybody knows that this doesn't happen every day."

Chauvin has been held since his conviction at the state's maximum-security prison in Oak Park Heights, where he has been kept in a cell by himself for his own protection, his meals brought to him.

The three other officers involved in Floyd's arrest are scheduled for trial in March on state charges of aiding and abetting both murder and manslaughter. They will also stand trial with Floyd on the federal civil rights charges. No date has been set for that trial.

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Associated Press writers Aaron Morrison and Stephen Groves and Associated Press/Report for America reporter Mohamed Ibrahim contributed to this report.

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Find AP's full coverage of the death of George Floyd at: https://apnews.com/hub/death-of-george-floyd

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