St. Paul, MN – Former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin was sentenced to 21 years in prison by a federal judge on Wednesday for violating George Floyd’s civil rights.
Federal prosecutors had asked the judge to give Chauvin 25 years, and defense attorneys had argued that 20 years would be more appropriate given that the former police officer had expressed remorse for Floyd’s death and his part in it, NBC News reported.
U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson ultimately gave Chauvin 21 years with credit for time that he had already served, a reduction that brought his federal sentence down to 20 years and five months.
Chauvin pleaded guilty in December of 2021 to violating George Floyd’s civil rights when he used excessive force.
He initially pleaded not guilty when he and three other former Minneapolis police officers were indicted by a federal grand jury.
But by pleading guilty to the federal charges, Chauvin avoided another lengthy and expensive trial and might get a lesser sentence, NBC News reported.
The former Minneapolis police officer is already serving a 22-and-a-half-year prison sentence for the murder of Floyd on May 25, 2020.
A Hennepin County jury found Chauvin guilty on April 20, 2021 after less than 12 hours of deliberations.
Chauvin appeared in federal court in St. Paul on Dec. 15, 2021 and changed his plea to guilty and federal prosecutors told the judge that the former officer had agreed to plead guilty to using excessive force on Floyd, NBC News reported.
He also pleaded guilty before Magnuson in a separate federal indictment over an incident with a 14-year-old boy in 2017.
Chauvin had originally pleaded not guilty in that case as well.
Magnuson said that without that plea deal with prosecutors, Chauvin would have possibly spent the rest of his life in prison, NBC News reported.
Ahead of Chauvin’s sentencing, federal prosecutors reiterated their request to the judge for a 25-year prison sentence to run concurrently with his state sentence, CNN reported.
“A 300-month sentence appropriately captures the seriousness of the defendant’s abuses and the lasting harms that he has inflicted on his victims, their families, and the larger community,” prosecutors told the judge.
As part of the agreement, Chauvin has to agree to never work as a police officer again.
Prosecutors have also asked that Chauvin’s prison sentence be followed by five years of probation, according to CNN.
A federal jury in February found the other three officers who helped Chauvin arrest Floyd on the day he died had also violated the dead man’s rights.
Former Minneapolis Police Officers J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao remain charged in Hennepin County with aiding and abetting Floyd’s murder, but their state trials have been repeatedly delayed until October after the completion of their federal cases.
Former Minneapolis Police Officer Thomas Lane pleaded guilty in May to aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter, and in exchange for his plea, prosecutors asked the judge to dismiss the charge of aiding and abetting second-degree unintentional murder, the Associated Press reported.
Floyd died in the custody of the Minneapolis police on May 25, 2020 after officers responded to a call about a counterfeit $20 that he had allegedly used to make a purchase at a deli.
Store employees pointed out the suspect to police and they arrested him.
The complaint used to charge Chauvin said Floyd actively resisted arrest and then fought being put in the back of a police car once he had been handcuffed.
Cell phone video showed then-Officer Chauvin and three other officers holding Floyd on the ground.
The video showed Officer Chauvin held his knee on Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes, during which time the suspect lost consciousness.
Chauvin remained on Floyd’s neck for almost three minutes after he was unresponsive.