Sunlight falls on a portrait of George Floyd at George Floyd Square

Derek Chauvin Has Been Sentenced to 22.5 Years in Prison for Murdering George Floyd

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Former Minneapolis police officer and convicted murderer Derek Chauvin was sentenced Friday to 270 months, or 22.5 years in prison.

In April, Chauvin was found guilty on all counts in the murder of George Floyd: second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter. Earlier Friday, Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill heard impact statements from Floyd’s family, including his seven-year-old daughter, who gave a heartbreaking statement about how much she misses her dad.

“I ask about him all the time,” Gianna said via video. “I want to play with him, have fun, go on a plane ride.”

Cahill also heard from Chauvin’s mother, who did not speak at all about Floyd or his family’s grief, but tried to paint her son as being a victim of a false media narrative, as well as from Chauvin’s attorney, who urged the judge not to be swayed by “public opinion.”

When Cahill issued Chauvin’s sentence, he insisted he wasn’t being influenced by public opinion or by emotion, but by the law. And while the 22.5-year sentence is more than the state’s sentencing guidelines for offenders without prior felony convictions and also “one of the longest a former police officer has ever received for an unlawful use of deadly force,” according to MN Attorney General Keith Ellison, it is far less than the 30 years prosecutors and Floyd’s family were pushing for.

Even for those generally opposed to America’s overly severe prison sentences, the double standard in the judicial system is on full display here, and completely infuriating.

When given an opportunity to speak for himself, Chauvin offered this bizarre, brief statement: “Due to legal matters, I’m not able to give a full formal statement … I give my condolences to the Floyd family, there’s gonna be some other information in the future that will be of interest and I hope these will give you some peace of mind.”

Judge Cahill chose to keep his comments from the bench brief and instead issue a 22-page written statement, which you can read here if you’d like to understand his reasons for the sentence. This is the conclusion he wrote, summing up why he went so far beyond the state’s recommended sentence of 12.5 years:

Part of the mission of the Minneapolis Police Department is to give citizens “voice and respect.” Here, Mr. Chauvin, rather than pursuing the MPD mission, treated Mr. Floyd without respect and denied him the dignity owed to all human beings and which he certainly would have extended to a friend or neighbor. In the Court’s view, 270 months, which amounts to an additional ten years over the presumptive 150-month sentence, is the appropriate sentence.

(image: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

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Vivian Kane
Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.