Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin will serve 245 months in federal prison for violating George Floyd’s civil rights.
Senior US District Court Judge Paul Magnuson sentenced Chauvin to 252 months but subtracted seven months for time served.
US attorneys asked the court for Chauvin’s sentence to run concurrently with his state sentence of 22.5 years.
“This sentence should send a strong message that the Justice Department stands ready to prosecute law enforcement officers who use deadly force without basis,” Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke said. “While no amount of prison time can reverse the tragic consequences of Derek Chauvin’s violent actions, we hope that this sentence provides some small measure of justice for the families and communities impacted.”
As part of an agreement with prosecutors, Chauvin pleaded guilty in December to federal charges of depriving Floyd of his civil rights. He could have faced up to life in prison if he had been convicted at trial.
He also pleaded guilty and admitted that, in a separate case, he violated the civil rights of a 14-year-old in 2017 by using excessive force. That man filed a lawsuit in June against Chauvin and the city of Minneapolis.
Chauvin briefly addressed George Floyd’s children in court.
“I wish them all the best in their life and that they’ll have excellent guidance in the rest of their life,” he said.
Philonise Floyd, the brother of George Floyd, attended the hearing and asked the court for the maximum sentence.
“I’m looking for closure, and I want to know why. That’s what I want to know – why?” Philonise said after the hearing.
He also said he wanted an apology, something Chauvin didn’t give during his statement.
“I wish he would have just probably said how sorry he was, but that’s not going to bring my brother back. No matter how hard I want him to say different things, it’s not going to bring my brother back.”
Prosecutors had asked for a 25-year sentence in prison for violating Floyd’s civil rights, followed by five years of supervised release. His attorney had asked for 20 years.
The US Bureau of Prisons will decide what facility Chauvin will be housed in.
Sarah Greenman, an assistant criminology professor at Hamline University, said life in federal prison is considered to be better than at state facilities.
“It’s less crowded in federal prison, there’s less safety concerns than in a state facility,” she said, adding there are fewer violent offenders in federal prisons, which also have bigger budgets.
Chauvin was sentenced in June 2021 on state charges of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the May 2020 killing of Floyd, an assault caught on a video that sparked a national outcry over police brutality and a reckoning over racial justice in America. He has appealed his conviction.
The footage from a Minneapolis street showed Chauvin impassively kneeling on the 46-year-old Black man’s neck and back while he was handcuffed and lying prone in the street for more than 9 minutes, gasping for air and telling Minneapolis officers, “I can’t breathe.”
Chauvin pleaded guilty in December to depriving Floyd of his civil rights when the former officer kneeled on Floyd’s back and neck for over nine minutes on May 25, 2020. As part of the plea agreement, Chauvin faced a sentence between 20 and 25 years. He could have faced up to life in prison if he had been convicted of the federal charges.
According to a court document filed by his attorney in late June, Chauvin spends most of his life in solitary confinement at a maximum-security state prison.
Three other former officers were found guilty by a federal jury in February of violating Floyd’s rights on May 25, 2020.
One man, Thomas Lane, has pleaded guilty to state charges. The trial of Tou Thao and J. Alexander Kueng is scheduled to begin in October.
CNN’s Paul Vercammen reported from St. Paul, Minnesota, and Steve Almasy reported and wrote in Atlanta.