Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer, has been sentenced to 22 and 1/2 years in prison for the murder of George Floyd, whose killing outraged millions across the country and reignited a nationwide movement against police brutality and racial injustice.
Judge Peter Cahill of Hennepin County District Court handed down the sentence, which fell short of prosecutors' request of 30 years in prison. Cahill said his sentence surpassed the state's sentencing guidelines of 12 1/2 years because Chauvin abused a "position of trust and authority" and displayed a "particular cruelty" toward Floyd.
Floyd's sister, Bridgett, applauded the sentence, saying it showed "matters of police brutality are finally being taken seriously."
In April, Chauvin was convicted of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Chauvin has been held at the state's only maximum-security prison. Hours before the hearing, the judge denied Chauvin's motion for a new trial, saying his attorney failed to prove abuses from the court as well as prosecutorial or juror misconduct.
The graphic videos of the March 2020 arrest showed Chauvin, who is White, kneeling on the neck of Floyd, who is Black, for more than nine minutes. Three other former officers involved in Floyd's fatal arrest also face state and federal charges.
"It's hard to put time on death"
Selwyn Jones, Floyd's uncle, told CBS News that no amount of time can bring back his nephew. "It's hard to put time on death," he said.
Jones said he hopes to see future generations "step up" in terms of racial justice, and that he is proud of people like, who filmed Floyd's death with her cellphone last May. "I am proud to be Black now more than I ever have been in my life."
Two of Floyd's brothers, Terrence and Philonise, shared their hope for the future and emphasized the racial justice work still left to do in the country. "We need to stand up and fight," Philonise said in a news conference. "Can't get comfortable because when you get comfortable, people forget about you."
Terrence said that he was "overwhelmed" and "thankful" for activists who led demonstrations for the past year. He called on them to "keep fighting."
Biden says Chauvin's sentence "seems to be appropriate"
President Joe Biden on Friday responded to Chauvin's prison sentence of 22 and 1/2 years, saying it "seems to be appropriate."
"I don't know all the circumstances that were considered but it seems to be under the guidelines, that seems to be appropriate," Mr. Biden said, per pool reports.
Last month, the president met with Floyd's family at the Oval Office and discussed the policing reform package named after Floyd.
The House passed the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act in March, which would overhaul qualified immunity, among other reforms. Mr. Biden has expressed his support for the act, but its unlikely the bill will pass the Senate.
Floyd's family reacts to sentencing: "We got justice, but not enough."
In a news conference, the family of George Floyd reacted to the sentencing outside of the Hennepin County Government Center. Brandon Williams, Floyd's nephew, said Derek Chauvin's sentencing "is not enough" and that it's "like a slap in the face to all of us."
"I won't celebrate this. I won't celebrate it at all," Williams said. "It's funny that we got justice, but not enough justice."
Floyd's aunt, Angela Harrelson, told CBS News that the sentencing is "bittersweet."
She said the judge was "too lenient" on Chauvin and that his 22 and 1/2 years behind bars is not the maximum sentence that she had hoped for. "I'm not going to let it steal my spirit and destroy my drive to continue to fight for justice," Harrelson said.
Harrelson said the sentencing should be a sign to the three other police officers who also face charges in Floyd's arrest. "They better be shaking in their boots because the law has finally got it right," she said.
Floyd's sister, Bridgette, said in a statement that Chauvin's sentence "shows that matters of police brutality are finally being taken seriously." "However, we have a long way to go and many changes to make before Black and Brown people finally feel like they are being treated fairly and humanely by law enforcement in this country."
"This is not the end:" Sharpton and Crump call for policing reform
Reverend Al Sharpton and civil rights attorney Ben Crump called on the Senate to pass the, a comprehensive policing reform bill.
"One sentence does not solve a criminal justice problem," Sharpton said in a news conference after the hearing. "Let us remember a man lost his life. This is not a prayer of celebration."
Sharpton said the community "will not stop until justice becomes a matter of federal law."
In March, the House passed the bill named after Floyd but it is unlikely to pass the Senate, where Democrats need support from 10 Republicans to advance the bill.
The bill, which has President Biden's support, would overhaul qualified immunity, the legal doctrine that protects police officers from civil lawsuits for constitutional violations.
Chauvin sentenced to 22 and 1/2 years in prison
Judge Peter Cahill sentenced Chauvin to 22 and 1/2 years in prison for Floyd's death.
The judge said his sentence surpassed the state's sentencing guidelines of 12 and 1/2 years because Chauvin abused a "position of trust and authority" and displayed a "particular cruelty" toward Floyd.
Chauvin offers condolences to Floyd's family
Chauvin made brief comments in court Friday and expressed his condolences to Floyd's family.
"Due to additional matters at hand, I am not able to give a full formal statement at this time, but very briefly though, I do want to give my condolences to the Floyd family. There is going to be some other information in the future that would be of interest and, I hope things would give you some peace of mind — thank you."
Chauvin's mother calls for shorter sentence: "A lengthy sentence will not serve Derek well"
Derek Chauvin's mother, Carolyn Pawlenty, said her son is a good man and pleaded for a shorter sentence. "When you sentence my son, you will also be sentencing me," Pawlenty said.
She described Chauvin as "thoughtful, honorable and selfless," and said his conviction has taken a toll on him and their family. "He has a big heart and he always has put others before his own," she said.
Prosecutor dismisses Chauvin's request for probation
Mathew Frank, a state prosecutor, compared Chauvin's treatment of Floyd to "torture" and dismissed his attorney's request for probation. "I am not going to spend a lot of time arguing that. It is so outside of the realm of real possibility. This is murder," he said.
Frank requested a longer sentence than Minnesota sentencing guidelines suggest (10 to 15 years for someone with no prior criminal history) and mentioned four aggravating factors: Chauvin committed a crime in front of children, acted with particular cruelty, abused his position of trust and authority and acted with the active participation of others.
"The typical second-degree unintentional murder doesn't involve children standing feet away, watching nine and a half minutes suffocation of a man begging for his life," Frank said.
Floyd's brothers call for maximum sentence
In his statement, George Floyd's brother, Terrence, called for the maximum penalty in Chauvin's sentencing Friday.
"What was going through your head when you had your neck on my brother's neck?" he asked.
Philonise, another of Floyd's brothers, also called for maximum sentencing, mentioning that Floyd will miss major milestones of his daughter Gianna's life.
Floyd's nephew, Brandon, said the murder of his relative has "traumatized us."
"The full extent of our pain and trauma will never be seen with the naked eye. The heartbreak and hurt goes beyond any number of tears we could ever cry," Brandon said. "George's murder, his trial and everything in between has been tragic and devastating. Our family is forever broken."
"I want to play with him": Floyd's daughter Gianna says
Family members of George Floyd are making victim impact statements at the sentencing hearing. Floyd's 7-year-old daughter, Gianna, was the first to speak Friday.
"I want to play with him," she said in a video shown in court on Friday. Gianna said she misses her father and recalled having dinner with him each night before bed.
If she could tell her father anything it would be, "I miss you and I love you."
She said she wishes her father was still alive but said he is still with her in spirit.
Judge denies Chauvin's motion for a new trial
Judge Peter Cahill denied Derek Chauvin's motion for a new trial just hours before his sentencing on Friday.
In his two-page order, the judge said Chauvin "failed to demonstrate that the Court abused its discretion or committed error such as Defendant was deprived of his constitutional right" and said he failed to prove prosecutorial or juror misconduct.