Derek Chauvin Received a 21-Year Federal Prison Sentence for Violating George Floyd’s Civil Rights

Derek Chauvin, a former officer with the Minneapolis Police Department, was found guilty of violating the civil rights of George Floyd and sentenced to 21 years in federal prison. After entering a guilty plea in December, Chauvin must also make restitution payments.

U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson stated during sentencing that Chauvin “must be held responsible” for his actions, which he argued included ruining the lives of the other three officers involved in Floyd’s death.

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“I really don’t know why you did what you did,” the judge said. “To put your knee on a person’s neck until they expired is simply wrong. … Your conduct is wrong and it is offensive.”

Derek Chauvin Received 21- Years of Federal Prison Sentence

In May, Magnuson accepted a plea deal from Chauvin that recommended a sentence of twenty-five years to life in prison. Since Chauvin was convicted in a state court last year of murder and manslaughter charges in connection with Floyd’s May 2020 death and sentenced to 22 1/2 years, Magnuson reduced the 21-year sentence by seven months for time already served. This means that he will be incarcerated in a federal facility while also serving his state sentence.

Derek Chauvin 21-Year Federal Prison
Derek Chauvin 21-Year Federal Prison

Floyd was pinned to the ground for 9 and a half minutes by White man Chauvin’s knee as he sat on top of him, despite Floyd’s dying cries of “I can’t breathe.” An international outcry was sparked by Floyd’s death, and a national reckoning was compelled regarding police brutality and racism.

Chauvin reportedly told Floyd’s children, “all the best in their lives,” and that they have “excellent guidance in becoming good adults,” before he was sentenced on Thursday. The man did not apologise in any way.

Floyd’s brother Philonise Floyd pleaded with the judge for a life sentence and said he has had nightmares about his brother’s murder ever since.

The prosecution argued that the former police officer’s actions during Floyd’s death were cold-blooded and unnecessary, and thus he should serve the full 25-year sentence. They also claimed he had a pattern of abusing his power by using excessive force, citing Chauvin’s guilty plea in which he admitted violating the rights of a Black boy, then 14, whom he restrained in a separate case in 2017.

The defence argued for a lesser sentence of 20 years, saying Chauvin understands the gravity of his actions and is already serving a 22 1/2 year sentence for Floyd’s murder in a state prison. Chauvin’s “remorse will be made apparent to this Court,” attorney Eric Nelson wrote. 

Chauvin is appealing his murder conviction on the grounds that jurors were prejudiced and intimidated by the extensive media coverage leading up to the trial.

Tou Thao, J. Alexander Keung, and Thomas Lane, three other ex-Minneapolis police officers, were found guilty in February on federal civil rights charges related to Floyd’s death. The judge, Magnuson, has not yet scheduled their sentencing.

Lane, who pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting in second-degree manslaughter in state court, is also scheduled to be sentenced on September 21. As a result of rejecting plea bargains, Thao and Kueng will stand trial for aiding and abetting on October 24 in state court.

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