Justin Bullock, FISM News
Derek Chauvin, the former police officer who was convicted of murdering George Floyd, was sentenced to twenty-two and a half years minus time already served on Friday. The sentencing hearing and decision from Judge Peter Cahill comes after Chauvin was convicted of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter in April of this year. Judge Cahill delivered a short order with a 22 page memorandum opinion attached explaining his reasoning.
The maximum sentence for second-degree unintentional murder in Minnesota is 40 years pursuant to Minnesota Statute so Judge Cahill’s ruling comes well within the guidelines. Prosecutors asked Judge Cahill for a 30 year sentence. Judge Cahill’s sentencing of 22.5 years for Chauvin is the most extreme instance in Minnesota history toward a former police officer convicted of using excessive force or similar such crime. Judge Cahill said that Chauvin’s former position as a police officer did play a role in his decision both positively and negatively. Judge Cahill also indicated that Chauvin would be eligible for supervised release after 15 years of his sentence were fulfilled.
Judge Cahill said in his opinion that Chauvin “abused his position of trust or authority” as a police officer by exhibiting “particular cruelty” toward Floyd, and treated Floyd “without respect and denied him the dignity owed to all human beings.” He also revealed that these two considerations were the primary influences on his decision. President Biden very briefly commentated on the ruling, telling the press, “I don’t know all the circumstances that were considered, but it seems to me under the guidelines, that seems to be appropriate.” It is unknown thus far if Chauvin will appeal the ruling.
The actual hearing itself was tense, as Chauvin was given the opportunity to give a statement prior to the sentencing. He told the Floyd family that he gives them his “condolences” and cryptically referred to future legal developments and information in the coming days.
BREAKING: Derek Chauvin addresses the court at his sentencing in the murder of George Floyd.
— ABC News (@ABC) June 25, 2021
In addition, Floyd’s young daughter delivered a victim impact statement via video:
BREAKING: George Floyd's daughter Gianna Floyd reads victim impact statement at sentencing of Derek Chauvin.
— ABC News (@ABC) June 25, 2021
There was additional widespread reaction to the sentencing, as Floyd’s family and spokespersons told the press that the only way for justice was in a life sentence for Chauvin. Reverend Al Sharpton joined the Floyd family and their attorney in saying that the sentencing was insufficient for justice. However, jury trial member Brandon Mitchell told the the press that the sentencing did seem like justice in a hopeless situation. Minnesota Attorney Governor took a middle ground position saying in a statement,
The sentence the court just imposed on Derek Chauvin — 22.5 years — is one of the longest a former police officer has ever received for an unlawful use of deadly force. Like the conviction of Derek Chauvin two months ago, today’s sentencing is not justice, but it is another moment of real accountability on the road to justice… Today is also an important moment in the history of our country. The outcome of this case is critically important — but by itself, it’s not enough. My hope for our country is that this moment gives us pause and allows us to rededicate ourselves to real societal change that will move us much farther along the road of justice. I’m not talking about the kind of change that will take decades: I’m talking about real, concrete change that real people can make now… We can and we must make another choice: the choice to break the old paradigm and end the cycle of inaction, the choice to act for accountability and justice, the choice to transform ourselves and our country. For the sake of all the lives that have been lost, for the sake of the terrible sacrifices that too many families have made, for the sake of the many officers who strive to serve everyone with dignity and respect, for the sake of all communities. Time is up. Nothing less will do. The country is counting on us. We are counting on each other.