Former US police officer Derek Chauvin, found guilty of the murder of African-American man George Floyd in May 2020, was on Friday sentenced to prison for 270 months, or 22.5 years, reported CNN. This excludes the time he has already served.
According to the law in Minnesota, the former police officer will have to serve two-thirds of his term, or 15 years, before being eligible for supervised release.
Chauvin was found guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter. ON Friday, Chauvin was sentenced for second-degree unintentional murder, the most serious charge with a maximum term of 40 years, reported ABC News.
Friday’s sentencing goes beyond the usual Minnesota sentencing range of 10 years and eight months to 15 years for the crime, according to CNN. However, Judge Peter Cahill said the term was not passed with emotion or public opinion. He added that he wanted to acknowledge the pain of the families, especially of Floyd.
“Mr Chauvin’s prolonged restraint of Mr Floyd was also much longer and more painful than the typical scenario in a second-degree or third-degree murder or second-degree manslaughter case,” the judge wrote in a 22-page memorandum.
Ahead of his sentencing, Chauvin spoke briefly, offering his “condolences to the Floyd family”.
The sentencing is said to be a rare case as data from the Police Integrity Research Group at the Bowling Green State University, showed that in 16 years, only nine officials of the US law enforcement had been sentenced to prison after being convicted of murder on duty, reported ABC News. The Police Integrity Research Group tracks prosecutions and arrests.
On May 25, 2020, four police officials detained Floyd after he had allegedly used a counterfeit bill at a store in Minnesota. Chauvin kneeled on Floyd’s neck as the others watched and did nothing to stop him, though passersby stopped to question the officers. Floyd was unarmed.
Protests grew after a widely shared video showed Chauvin kneeling for almost nine minutes on Floyd, as the African-American was seen pleading with the officials. Floyd repeatedly told Chauvin: “I can’t breathe”. He died on the spot.
An autopsy commissioned for Floyd’s family found that he died of asphyxiation due to neck and back compression. The autopsy showed that the compression cut off blood to Floyd’s brain, and that the pressure of other officers’ knees on his back made it impossible for him to breathe.