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After Emotional Testimony, Chauvin Sentenced to 22.5 Years for George Floyd's Murder

06-25-2021
DerekChauvinsentenced
In this image taken from video, former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin addresses the court before he was sentenced, Friday, June 25, 2021, at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis. (Court TV via AP, Pool)

A judge sentenced former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin to 22 1/2 years in prison for the murder of George Floyd Friday. Floyd's death sparked the biggest outcry against racial injustice in the U.S. in generations.

The punishment handed out Friday fell short of the 30 years that prosecutors had requested.

With good behavior, Chauvin, 45, could be paroled after serving two-thirds of his sentence, or about 15 years.

In emotional testimony ahead of the sentencing, George Floyd's 7-year-old daughter Gianna Floyd addressed the court by way of a video call, and Derek Chauvin himself addressed the court. 

Gianna Floyd said in the victim impact statement that she believed her dad was still with her in spirit and that she wants to know how he got hurt.

"We used to have dinner meals every single night before we went to bed," she said. "My daddy always used to help me brush my teeth."

She had a long list of things she would still have liked to do with her father. "I want to play with him, have fun, go on a plane ride."

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Chauvin, who did not testify at his trial, briefly spoke before the sentence was handed down. He removed his COVID-19 mask and turned toward the Floyd family, speaking only briefly because of what he called "some additional legal matters at hand" — an apparent reference to the federal civil rights trial he still faces.

"But very briefly, though, I do want to give my condolences to the Floyd family. There's going to be some other information in the future that would be of interest. And I hope things will give you some peace of mind," he said, without elaborating.

Chauvin attorney Eric Nelson called Floyd's death "tragic," and said Chauvin's "brain is littered with what-ifs" from the day: "What if I just did not agree to go in that day? What if things had gone differently? What if I never responded to that call? What if what if what if?"

Floyd's family members took the stand and expressed sorrow about his death. They asked for the maximum penalty.

"We don't want to see no more slaps on the wrist. We've been through that already," said a tearful Terrence Floyd, one of Floyd's brothers.

Prosecutor Matthew Frank asked the judge to exceed sentencing guidelines and give Chauvin 30 years in prison, saying "tortured is the right word" for what the officer did to Floyd.

"This is not a momentary gunshot, punch to the face. This is 9½ minutes of cruelty to a man who was helpless and just begging for his life," Frank said.

Chauvin's mother, Carolyn Pawlenty, took the stand to plead for mercy for her son, saying his reputation has been unfairly reduced to that of "an aggressive, heartless and uncaring person" and a racist.

"I can tell you that is far from the truth," she told the judge. "I want this court to know that none of these things are true and that my son is a good man." She added: "Derek, I want you to know I have always believed in your innocence, and I will never waiver from that."

"I will be here for you when you come home," she said.

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