Former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin has been sentenced after being found guilty of murder in the death of George Floyd.
On Friday, June 25, Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill ruled that Chavin will be sentenced to 22 and a half years in prison.
The ruling comes after family members including George's brother Terrence Floyd and Philonise Floyd delivered victim impact statements. When George's 7-year-old daughter Gianna Floyd was asked if she could say anything to her dad, what would it be, she replied, "It would be I miss you and I love him."
But soon after, Chauvin's mom Carolyn Pawlenty spoke to the court and said she believes her son's innocence. "Derek is a quiet, thoughtful, honorable and selfless man," she told the judge. "He has a big heart and has always put others before his own. The public will never know the loving and caring man he is." Chauvin did not give a formal statement citing "some additional legal matters at hand." He did, however, offer condolences to Floyd's family.
Just hours before the sentence was announced, NBC News confirmed that the judge denied a request from Chauvin's attorney for a new trial. He also denied the defense's request for a hearing on jury misconduct.
As for Floyd's family attorney Ben Crump, he shared his hopes for the case early in the morning on social media.
"No amount of sentencing time will bring back George Floyd, but it can help us get closer to achieving equal justice and accountability," he shared on Twitter. "America is ready for its racial reckoning! We MUST seize this moment to keep moving forward to a better future!"
Crump continued, "In the past 16 years, only 9 cops have gotten prison sentences for murder convictions. We pray Derek Chauvin will be sentenced to the FULL extent of the law today for murdering George Floyd. The whole world is watching!"
After the sentencing, Philonese spoke to reporters and paid tribute to his late brother. "The fact that I'm still here and still standing and over a year later still speaking and speaking out, times are hard," he shared. "I have a family. We wake up every day and we don't see my brother. Empty seats all around the house he would have been in."
Philonese continued, "The fact that Gianna will grow up knowing that her father had made a difference in the world, but the fact that she cannot have a sweet sixteen. She cannot have him walk her down the aisle. She will not be able to have prom with the daddy dance."
The sentencing comes more than two months after a 12-member jury found Chauvin guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the May 2020 death of Floyd.
After listening to three weeks of witness testimony, the jury began deliberating on April 19 and came to their decision after less than 48 hours.
In May 2020, Chauvin and three other officers were arrested after Floyd died in their custody. According to prosecutors, Chauvin kneeled on the back of Floyd's neck for nine minutes and 29 seconds, even as Floyd, who was in handcuffs, said he was struggling to breathe.
Chauvin did not take the stand to testify in his own defense, instead invoking his fifth amendment right.
His fellow officers are each facing felony charges of aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter. They are expected to face trial together in August.