Derek Chauvin Sentenced for More Than 20 Years for the Murder of George Floyd
Update June 25, 2021: Judge Peter Cahill, who has served on the bench in Hennepin County for 14 years, sentenced former police officer Derek Chauvin to 22-and-a-half years (270 months) in prison. Analysts stated that the charges could carry up to 40 years in prison. Chauvin has already served 199 days. He will have to be registered as a predatory offender, as required by law, and prohibited from owning firearms and explosives.
Cahill added that he would be releasing the legal analysis that led him to that decision instead of pontificating on the case and involving public opinion and emotion. He offered condolences to the Floyd family and acknowledged the pain and fear that they've endured.
"This case wasn't about police officers, all police officers. It wasn't about policing. This case was about Derek Chauvin disregarding all that training he received and assaulting Mr. Floyd until he suffocated to death," Minnesota Assistant Attorney General Matthew Frank said during the sentencing. "Mr. Chauvin abused his position of trust and authority as a police officer by doing just that - just disregarding all of his training."
Terrence Floyd, George Floyd's younger brother, requested that Chauvin receive the maximum sentence, adding that if the roles were reversed, Floyd's sentence would be harsh.
"On behalf of me and my family, we seek the maximum penalty. We don't want to see no more slaps on the wrist. We've been through that already ... no, no, no," he said. "If it was us, if the roles was reversed, there wouldn't be no case. It would have been open and shut. We'd have been under the jail for murdering somebody. So, we ask for that same penalty for Derek Chauvin."
Previously: Back on May 25, 2020, George Floyd's death spurred Black Lives Matter protests, which continue as activists work to dismantle America's history of systemic racism. Today, Derek Chauvin, one of the officers involved in the incident, was found guilty on all three charges.
According to CNN, Chauvin "pleaded not guilty to charges of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter." Chauvin could be sentenced to up to 40 years in prison for the second-degree murder charge, up to 25 for the third-degree murder charge, and up to 10 years for the second-degree manslaughter.
"People keep saying the system is on trial," CNN's Van Jones said after news broke that the jury had reached a verdict. "It's not just the system. They feel their humanity is on trial. Can this system ever truly respect Black life? People want to know... does my life matter as a young person in this country?"
George Floyd's brother, Philonise Floyd, was present at the courthouse in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and CNN noted that he was "calm" before the verdict was shared with the public.
"For the rest of the country, this will be a historic decision in this case. But for the family, this is a personal, a personal issue," CNN's Sara Sidner said. "An issue that is deeply, deeply, deeply personal for every single member of the Floyd family. He said, this is what should be happening and should have been happening in cases like theirs, with other situations between police and particularly police and African Americans in this country. He said, you know, in his mind, when the police do something incorrect when the police take a life ... In his mind, then they should be treated like everyone else in this country, every other citizen."
People adds that President Joe Biden called Floyd's family today.
"He was just calling," Philonise said. "He knows how it is to lose a family member, and he knows the process of what we're going through. So he was just letting us know that he was praying for us and hoping that everything will come out to be okay."
"They're a good family," Biden told reporters. "And they're calling for peace and tranquility. I'm praying the verdict is the right verdict. Which is - I think it's overwhelming in my view."
Vice President Kamala Harris told The Hill that the verdict will not be enough to "heal the pain that existed for generations."
"This verdict is but a piece of it," she continued. "And it will not heal the pain that existed for generations, that has existed for generations among people who have experienced and first-hand witnessed what now a broader public is seeing because of smartphones and the ubiquity of our ability to videotape in real time what is happening in front of our faces. And that is the reality of it."
Prominent activism groups and politicians posted messages after the verdict was read, including the ACLU, Bernice King, and Stacey Abrams.
Forbes's Andrew Solender noted that Joyce Beatty, Congressional Black Caucus chair, said that this was only the beginning of reckoning with issues of racism and policing, saying, "We want to be very clear that this is just the first step." Congresswoman Cori Bush also noted that more work needs to be done.