Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was sentenced Thursday to 21 years in prison on federal civil rights charges in the death of George Floyd.
He had previously pleaded not guilty to the charges, but in December 2021 he pleaded guilty to violating Floyd’s civil rights and admitted he kept his knee on Floyd’s neck even after he became unresponsive. .
Chauvin’s plea deal called for a 20-25 year sentence and for him to serve the federal sentence alongside the state in federal prison, the Associated Press reported.
Chauvin also pleaded guilty to depriving a then 14-year-old child of his constitutional right to be free from the use of unreasonable force by an officer, which resulted in bodily harm to the teenager, according to the Ministry of Justice.
U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson made the final decision.
In April 2021, Chauvin was also convicted of three counts in Floyd’s death – second-degree manslaughter, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter – for pressing his knee against Floyd’s neck. for more than 9 minutes.
He had previously been sentenced to 270 months, less time served, which equates to about 22½ years in prison.
In a statement, Derrick Johnson, president of the civil rights organization NAACP, called for justice in other cases of police violence in the United States.
“While today’s federal sentence for the killer of George Floyd is a step toward accountability, America’s policing crisis continues to crush and devastate Black families,” Johnson said. “Holding police officers accountable is crucial. But meaningful justice, for the countless black people murdered by police, is desperately needed. Police must serve and protect, not lynch. We must reform policing in America.”
Former officers J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao have also been charged for their role in Floyd’s death.
The three of them had pleaded not guilty but were convicted by a jury.
The four former officers were trying to arrest Floyd on suspicion of using a counterfeit $20 bill to buy cigarettes at a convenience store in 2020.
During the encounter, Chauvin held his knee to the back of Floyd’s neck for over 9 minutes. Floyd, who was handcuffed and in a prone position on the sidewalk, repeatedly said he couldn’t breathe before he fell unconscious and lost his pulse, according to evidence presented at Chauvin’s state trial. Floyd was later pronounced dead in a hospital.
Thao and Kueng are now awaiting state trial on charges of aiding and abetting murder and aiding and abetting manslaughter in Floyd’s death. Both pleaded not guilty.
The trial is scheduled to begin on October 24.
Lane pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting second degree manslaughter in exchange for the dismissal of the main charge against him of aiding and abetting second degree manslaughter.
Under the agreement, a sentence of 36 months, or three years in prison, will be recommended by prosecutors and Lane’s legal team. If he had been tried and convicted on both counts, he could have faced a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison, according to the plea agreement.