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Minnesota judge sentences Chauvin to 22.5 years in prison for George Floyd murder

Sentencing follows three-week trial in which Chauvin was found guilty of second-degree unintentional murder and two lesser charges.

Updated: June 25, 2021 - 4:33pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

Minnesota Judge Peter Cahill on Friday sentenced former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin to 22-and-a-half years in prison for the May 2020 murder of George Floyd.

A jury in April found Chauvin guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, at the conclusion of a three-week trial that gained national attention.

Cahill in announcing the sentence urged people to read the legal analysis on how he reached his decision and said the amount of time was not based on "emotion or sympathy."

Still, we need to recognize the pain of the Floyd family," he said.

The key prosecution evidence in the trial was the bystander video of Chauvin kneeling on Floyd's neck for roughly nine minutes during the arrest, which sparked a summer of protests over police brutality, particularly toward black Americans. 

Because of Minnesota statutes, Chauvin was only sentenced for the most serious charge of second-degree unintentional murder, which has a maximum of 40 years in prison. However, the prosecution asked for 30 years, in part because it was Chauvin's first offense, according to the Associated Press.

The state-recommended sentencing was 12 and a half years. Some experts anticipated 20-25 years, based on the severity of the crime.

The judge said he decided upon 270 months, or  22.5 years, because it was 12-and-a-half years based on the state guidelines and an additional 10 years for the severity of the crime.

The sentence includes 199 days already served.

Family members of George Floyd gave victim statements, requesting maximum time without chance of parole for Chauvin. 

Chauvin decided not to speak except to say that more information will be coming that will hopefully give the family some peace of mind. 

Chauvin still faces federal civil rights charges, as do three other former Minneapolis Police Department officers who were involved with Floyd's death on May 25, 2020.

The other three officers are also facing criminal charges for "aiding and abetting murder" and have entered pleas of "not guilty." They are set to stand trial in May 2022.