Reaction from Family, Prosecutor on 22.5 Year Sentence on George Floyd Killer, Former Cop Derek Chauvin

By Neha Malhi, Alan Vargas, and Stephanie Boulos

MINNEAPOLIS, MN – Former police officer Derek Chauvin was sentenced Friday for murdering George Floyd – Chauvin’s trial was eight weeks long, the verdict reached on April 20, the jury deliberated for nine hours and 44 minutes before giving him a guilty verdict on all three counts, and Friday, Chauvin was sentenced to 22 and one-half years in prison.

Chauvin’s sentencing hearing started with a statement from Floyd’s seven-year-old daughter. When asked about what she missed most about her father, she replied, “I miss playing with him and… when he would brush my teeth every night before going to bed.”

The next person to give a statement was Floyd’s nephew, Brandon Williams, who said, “It has impacted me personally and the rest of our lives. My brain and thoughts are all about, what I can say today given the standard for all we are feeling, gives me numbness to imagine the human being with no regard for the safety and impact it would have on his family.”

Terrence Floyd, Floyd’s brother, in his statement, said, “this situation and everyone who went through the same situation is all part of a fraternity family. And this fraternity is not where everyone goes and enjoys.”

He added, “ I wanted to know from the man himself, what was going through your head when you put your leg on my brother’s neck, who posed no threat”. He demanded real justice and no more “slaps on the wrists.”

Philonise Floyd, Floyd’s other brother, said whenever he asked for his brother’s justice, he relived the moments of his execution again and again. He demanded strict punishment for Chauvin, without the possibility of parole, probation, community service, or getting out early for good behavior.

Prosecutor Mathew Frank said four aggravating factors and detailed findings that the court made about the case justified a significantly increased sentence.

Frank noted the death of Floyd was not a typical second-degree unintentional murder. The Supreme Court in the state said even one aggravating factor is sufficient to go twice the top of the range, and here there are four, according to Frank.

First is the abuse of trust and authority, and Chauvin, when acting as a police officer, had the position of trust and authority and nevertheless ignored that position and used his position of authority to kill Jorge Floyd.

Police officers are given a substantial amount of training, and despite all the training, and Frank said Chauvin neglected all that training he received and assaulted Floyd until he suffocated to death.

Frank said, as in all arrests, “In your custody, it is in your care,” suggesting that if an officer is taking custody of somebody, they have to administer care in a caring way and cannot disregard care.

Instead of putting Floyd on his side, Chauvin ignored his pleas and ignored Floyd’s medical needs. There was an outrageous abuse of force which a typical second-degree murder does not include or involve, said Frank.

Frank added Chauvin went to the extreme extent of cruelty, “torture is the right word.” Floyd did not want to be in the back seat, “and we all saw that once he was put out of that back seat, he calmed down, he willingly went down to the ground, not fighting or punching.”

Another aggravating factor included children watching the dehumanization of Floyd, insisted Frank. Children were aged from 17 to nine years of age. “That is committing a crime in front of children. A nine-year-old went on to say as he saw Mr. Floyd being murdered, “we should call the police on the police.”

The court also made a finding that the defendant committed the offense with the involvement of three or more other persons (the other officers) who were involved directly in the restraint and another officer, who kept the bystanders at bay.

Frank said the other officers either contributed or just watched most of the suffocation. One person identified as a medically trained firefighter for the city of Minneapolis was dismissed and ignored.

The four officers kept trained medical people from providing help, and these were uniformed peace officers adding to the abuse of “trust and authority,” said Frank.

The defense asked the court for probation, and Frank said it was outside the realm of possibility because “this is a murder, and it is not enough for probation for a second-degree murder.”

The assistant state attorney believes these four aggravating factors justify an “upward departure” and show this is not a typical second-degree murder but an egregious act of violence. Frank asked the court to do a “double departure,” recognizing all four factors to 360 months (30 years).

Frank added, “This is a time for our criminal justice system to say ‘we hear you’ and recognize the harm is real, and the severity of the crime reflected in the sentence given.”

Chauvin was given the opportunity to speak directly to the court and to Floyd’s family, and he said he was unable to give a full formal statement now but wants to give his condolences to the family of George Floyd.

Chauvin added, “there is some more information in the future that is of some interest.. And I hope things will give you some peace of mind. Thank you.”

Judge Peter Cahill ruled “As to count 1…. It is the judgment of the court that you now stand convicted of that offense…Counts 2 and 3 will remain unadjudicated… In the sentence of count 1, the court commits you to the custody of the commission of corrections for a period of 270 months… which is a 10-year addition to the preemptive sentence of 150 months.”

Cahill then continued to cite the reasons for this addition, noting, “… based on your abuse of a position of trust and authority, and the particular cruelty shown to George Floyd.”

Cahill then ended Chauvin’s sentencing by saying Chauvin is granted credit for 199 days already served, and by reading to him the expectations and circumstances of his sentence.

Neha Malhi is graduating from UCLA this summer with economics degree. She is from Los Angeles, California.

Alan Vargas is a third-year transfer student at UCLA, majoring in Political science and English. He is from San Jose, Ca

Stephanie Boulos is a second year Political Science and Philosophy major at UC Davis from Socal, hoping to pursue a career in law!

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About The Author

The Vanguard Court Watch operates in Yolo, Sacramento and Sacramento Counties with a mission to monitor and report on court cases. Anyone interested in interning at the Courthouse or volunteering to monitor cases should contact the Vanguard at info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org - please email info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org if you find inaccuracies in this report.

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