Minneapolis, MN – Former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin was sentenced to 270 months, or 22-and-a half years, in prison on Friday for the murder of George Floyd.
Hennepin County District Court Judge Peter Cahill said he had given Chauvin 10 years more than the state’s presumptive sentence because he had abused his authority and demonstrative particular cruelty towards Floyd.
Further aggravating factors included the fact that children were present during the incident and that Chauvin committed the crime as a group with at least three other people assisting him, the judge said.
The judge kept his remarks brief and said he would refer to everyone to a 22-page memorandum he had attached to the sentencing order that would explain how he came to his decision.
He gave Chauvin credit for 199 days served and remanded him to the custody of the prison system.
Cahill also said Chauvin would be banned from possessing firearms, ammunition, or explosives for the rest of his life, and would have to submit DNA and register as a violent offender.
Floyd’s seven-year-old daughter, Gianna Floyd, nephew Brandon Williams, and both of his brothers gave victim impact statements prior to the sentencing.
The adults asked that Chauvin be given the maximum possible sentence without parole, saying it would begin to give their family closure.
Chauvin spoke at the sentencing hearing only to offer his condolences to Floyd’s family and cited other ongoing legal matters that prevented him from saying more at that time.
Under Minnesota law, Chauvin could only be sentenced on the most serious of the charges he was convicted on, the Associated Press reported.
Chauvin’s most serious charge was second-degree murder (unintentional) while committing a felony.
Minnesota’s sentencing guidelines allowed Cahill to sentence Chauvin to as few as 12.5 years or as many as 40 years, WCCO reported.
Experts had predicted the judge would give Chauvin at least twice the recommended minimum.
Chauvin will be eligible for parole after he has served two-thirds of his prison sentence if he has not had any disciplinary problems while incarcerated, according to Minnesota law.
The jury found Chauvin guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter on April 20 after less than 12 hours of deliberations.
Cahill did not grant the defense’s motion for a new trial on May 4 alleging the trial was tainted by the bad behavior of state prosecutors and juror misconduct.
The motion filed by Nelson also cited Cahill’s failure to change the venue and sequester the jury from the media circus that accompanied the trial.
Nelson’s motion called for a new trial to be granted because Cahill’s abuse of discretion deprived Chauvin of a fair trial in numerous ways, including his denial of the defense’s motion for a new trial after “publicity during the proceedings threaten[ed] the fairness of the trial.”
The city of Minneapolis made the largest pre-trial settlement in U.S. history with Floyd’s family during jury selection, U.S. Representative Maxine Waters (D-California) levied threats of what would happen without a guilty verdict, and black-clad vandals attacked the former home of one of the defense’s expert witnesses with pig’s blood before the trial had even finished.
Nelson also pointed to juror misconduct in his motion.
Brandon Mitchell, the first juror to go public, has been making the media circuit talking about his experience deciding Chauvin’s fate and promoting his podcast.
In the process, Mitchell advocated using jury duty for social justice purposes and revealed he may have had an agenda.
During jury selection, Mitchell claimed he’d never even watched the entire video of Floyd’s death.
But once the trial was over and Chauvin had been convicted on all three charges, it turned out that Mitchell had engaged in activism.
Pictures posted to social media by a family member showed that Mitchell had actively participated in anti-police protests in Washington, DC last summer while wearing a Black Lives Matter t-shirt that said “Get Your Knee Off Our Necks.”
However, a new trial in Minnesota wouldn’t have granted Chauvin a reprieve from time behind bars.
Federal officials had a plan to take Chauvin into custody in the Hennepin County courtroom if he was acquitted by the jury.
All four officers who were involved with Floyd’s arrest have been charged by federal prosecutors for violating his civil rights.
The trial of the other three officers, which was originally scheduled for August, has been bumped to next year to allow the federal prosecution to be completed first.