Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill denied Derek Chauvin a new trial shortly before sentencing him to 22.5 years in federal prison on Friday afternoon.
The sentencing began with a video of Floyd’s daughter, Gianna, giving a victim impact statement. “I ask about him all the time,” Gianna said in a video shown to the court. She spoke about all the things she wanted to do with him when she sees him again, and talked about how he always helped her brush her teeth before bed.
Victim impact statements were also read by Floyd’s nephew Brandon Williams, and his brothers Terrence and Philonise Floyd. With each statement you could clearly see that this was a family still grieving the loss of someone they truly loved. At points, both Terrence and Philonise could be seen visibly trying to fight through tears while reading their statements.
“Why? What were you thinking? What was going through your head when you held your knee on my brother’s neck?” Terrence Floyd asked during his statement. Philonise recounted all the memories Gianna won’t be able to make with her father, like daddy-daughter dances and her sweet 16.
After words from Minnesota Assistant Attorney General Matthew Frank, Chauvin’s mother, defense attorney Eric Nelson, and Chauvin himself, Judge Cahill declared a 15 minute recess. Once court was back in session, Cahill announced that Chauvin was sentenced to 22 years and 6 months in prison. Chauvin can also never own a firearm again and must register as a predatory offender.
According to NBC News, Cahill also denied a motion submitted by Chauvin’s attorney requesting a new trial. Cahill issued the ruling on Thursday night but it wasn’t made public until Friday morning. The judge ruled that the defense failed to prove that there was any misconduct on behalf of the jury or the prosecution.
In April, a jury found Chauvin guilty on charges of second degree unintentional murder, third degree murder, and second degree manslaughter after 10 hours of deliberation. While Chauvin’s attorney tried to argue for his client to receive probation or a lower than usual sentence, Judge Cahill ruled last month that Chauvin could receive a longer than usual sentence due to multiple aggravating factors. He found the prosecutors proved “beyond a reasonable doubt” that Chauvin abused his position of authority when killing Floyd, and that he acted with “particular cruelty.”
“It was particularly cruel to kill George Floyd slowly by preventing his ability to breathe when Mr. Floyd had already made it clear he was having trouble breathing,” Cahill wrote. While the sentence was 10 years over the presumptive minimum of 10 years, it wasn’t the maximum 30 years he could’ve been sentenced due to the aggravating circumstances.
Chauvin is still awaiting a federal civil rights trial that involves both the murder of Floyd and an incident in 2017 where he held his knee on the neck and back of a 14-year-old boy he had already handcuffed and wasn’t resisting.