Derek Chauvin sentenced to 21 years on federal charge of violating George Floyd’s civil rights

Ex-cop Derek Chauvin (left) was sentenced to 21 years in federal prison for violating black man George Floyd’s (right) civil rights (Pictures: AP)

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin has been sentenced to 21 years in prison on a separate federal charge of violating black man George Floyd’s civil rights.

While handing down Chauvin’s sentence on Thursday afternoon, US District Judge Paul Magnuson said: ‘For your actions, you must be held accountable.’

‘I really don’t know why you did what you did,’ said Magnuson. ‘To put your knee on a person’s neck until they expired is simply wrong… Your conduct is wrong and it is offensive.’

Chauvin, 46, as part of a plea deal in December admitted that he violated Floyd’s civil rights by kneeling on his neck and back.

His plea carried a 20 to 25-year sentence, and prosecutors argued that his actions were uncalled for and cold-blooded and that he should receive the full amount.

Meanwhile, the defense asked for 20 years, saying that Chauvin has accepted responsibility for his actions. Chauvin’s attorney Eric Nelson wrote that his client’s ‘remorse will be made apparent to this Court’.

Magnuson took seven months off of the 21-year sentence for time that Chauvin has already served for his murder and manslaughter conviction in state court last year. , and will serve the state and his new federal sentence concurrently in federal prison.

Chauvin did not offer an apology as Floyd’s family members sat in the courtroom on Thursday. Instead, he wished Floyd’s children ‘all the best in their life’ and that they would have ‘excellent guidance in becoming good adults’.

Floyd’s brother, Philonise Floyd, asked the court to give Chauvin the maximum sentence.

‘My brother was murdered in broad daylight with a knee to his neck for nine minutes,’ said Philonise. ‘The family and I have been given a life sentence, we will never get George back.’

George repeatedly said ‘I can’t breathe’ as Chauvin, who is white, knelt on his neck for 9 1/2 minutes. George’s death in May 2020 sparked worldwide protests against racism and police brutality, and reinvigorated the Black Lives Matter movement.

Chauvin in pleading guilty to violating George’s civil rights also admitted for the first time that he kept kneeling on the unarmed man even after he became unresponsive.

The former police officer is appealing his murder conviction, on the grounds that jurors were intimidated by widespread protests and affected by publicity before his trial.

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