“I really don’t know why you did what you did,” Judge said. “Putting your knee on someone’s neck until they expire is just wrong. … Your conduct is bad and it’s offensive.
Federal charges against Chauvin included two counts of disenfranchising Floyd by kneeling on his neck while handcuffed and failing to provide medical attention during the May 2020 arrest. Chauvin initially pleaded not guilty to the federal charges, he changed his plea in December. Meanwhile, he also admitted his guilt in a separate federal indictment related to allegations that he deprived a 14-year-old boy of his civil rights in September 2017.
According to NBC News, that guilty plea helped Chauvin avoid another high-profile trial. His sentence reflects 20 years for the charges related to Floyd and five months for the other case.
“For your actions, you must be held accountable,” Magnuson said before handing down the sentence.
The sentencing is part of a plea deal Chauvin accepted in May, which included a 20 to 25-year sentence. Magnuson reduced the 21-year sentence by seven months for time already served after Chauvin was sentenced in state court on murder and manslaughter charges linked to Floyd’s death in May 2020 and sentenced to 22½ years in prison. Chauvin will concurrently serve state and federal sentences in federal prison.
While prosecutor LeeAnn Bell had asked Magnuson to give Chauvin the full 25 years possible in the plea deal, Chauvin’s attorney Eric Nelson had asked for 20 years, arguing that Chauvin was remorseful. However, Chauvin did not apologize or show remorse. Instead, before his sentencing, he wished Floyd’s children “all the best in their lives” and that they have “great advice on becoming good adults.” CBS News reported.
The other three former Minneapolis police officers implicated in Floyd’s death included Tou Thao, J. Alexander Keung and Thomas Lane. They were sentenced in February on federal civil rights charges in the killing of Floyd. According to The Associated Press, Magnuson has not set a sentencing date for them.
“This conviction should send a strong message that the Justice Department is prepared to prosecute law enforcement officers who use baseless lethal force,” Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke said. “While no amount of jail time can reverse the tragic consequences of Derek Chauvin’s violent actions, we hope this sentence will bring a small measure of justice to affected families and communities.”
But if Chauvin’s sentence is a moment worth celebrating, as my colleague Jessica Sutherland says, “for every cop that gets caught, there are thousands that get away with it.” While Chauvin was sentenced on Thursday, two other officers were acquitted in a case related to the death of a black woman. According to the Associated Press, an inquest jury concluded on Wednesday that two Seattle police officers were justified in shooting and killing a mentally unstable pregnant black mother of four inside her apartment in 2017.
Charleena Lyles’ case has been described as a tragedy, with details of the incident described as “heartbreaking” by King County District Attorney Dan Satterberg.
Despite memories of her baby crawling and climbing on top of her as she died and a boy came out of a bedroom and said, in tears, ‘You shot my mother’, the jury judged the actions justified police. Lyles was 15 weeks pregnant.
According to the Associated Press, the investigation began after years of delay and included six days of testimony to determine if there was “genuine malice” on the part of the officer to kill Lyles.