A white former police officer has been convicted of murdering George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 2020 and has been sentenced to 22 and a half years in jail.
According to the judge, Derek Chauvin’s sentence was based on his “abuse of a position of trust and authority, and also the particular cruelty shown” to Mr Floyd.
Mr Floyd, 48, was killed after Chauvin knelt on his neck for nine minutes despite Floyd saying “I can’t breathe” repeatedly.
George Floyd’s murder sparked global protests against racism and police brutality and became a cornerstone of the #BlackLivesMatter movement.
Chauvin, who had a history with Floyd was convicted of second-degree murder and other charges last month. Chaucin’s lawyer argued that the killing was “an error made in good faith”.
Chauvin has also been told to register as a predatory offender and has been banned from owning firearms for life.
“This historic sentence brings the Floyd family and our nation one step closer to healing by delivering closure and accountability,” lawyer Ben Crump tweeted.
Mr Floyd’s sister Bridgett Floyd said the sentence “shows that matters of police brutality are finally being taken seriously” but there was still “a long way to go”.
President Joe Biden said the sentence “seemed to be appropriate” but admitted that he did not know all the details.
In the sentencing hearing, Mr Floyd’s brother demanded the maximum available sentence of 40 years.
“Why? What were you thinking? What was going through your head when you had your knee on my brother’s neck?” he said.
Mr Floyd’s daughter Gianna, aged seven, appeared in a video recording, saying she missed him and she loved him.
“I ask about him all the time,” she said. “My daddy always used to help me brush my teeth.”
“What the sentence is not based on is emotion, or sympathy, but at the same time, I want to acknowledge the deep and tremendous pain that all the families are feeling, especially the Floyd family,” said Judge Peter Cahill.
Chauvin offered his condolences to the Floyd family, saying there would be “some other information in the future” and he hoped “things will give you some peace of mind”.
However, Chauvin refused to apologise.
Chauvin’s mother said her son was a “good man” in court.
“I have always believed in your innocence and I will never waver from that,” said Carolyn Pawlenty.
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