Former police Officer Derek Chauvin has been sentenced to 22.5 years in prison for the murder of George Floyd, just over 2/3 of the 30 years requested by prosecutors. He was convicted in April of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter.

Judge Peter Cahill who determined the sentence, went beyond the 12.5 years that state guidelines recommend for Chauvin’s charges, specifically because Chauvin was a police officer when he committed the murder. He justified his decision because of Chauvin’s “abuse of a position of trust and authority and also the particular cruelty” shown 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,” said Prosecutor Matthew Frank. “Tortured is the right word.”

For over a year as the legal system has ground slowly to this conclusion, Derek Chauvin has remained silent, both in court and to the press. Just before his sentence was pronounced, he broke that silence to speak to the Floyd family.

“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. It is likely that his vague references to other information are connected to the ongoing federal civil rights trial still to come for him.

Floyd’s family, who spoke regarding victim impact, asked for the maximum penalty, which would have been thirty years.

“We don’t want to see no more slaps on the wrist. We’ve been through that already,” said Terrence Floyd, one of George Floyd’s brothers.

Carolyn Pawlenty, Derek Chauvin’s mother, spoke to the court to plead for mercy for her son, professing that she believes him innocent and that the damage the publicity has done to her son’s reputation should be considered in his sentencing.

With good behavior, Derek Chauvin will be eligible for release in 15 years. He is one of a very small number of former police officers convicted of homicide for killings made while on the force.

Image:  Ron Adar /