Chauvin Gets 21 Years on Civil Rights Charges for George Floyd Murder

The Minneapolis ex-cop pleaded guilty and will now serve 21 years in federal prison for violating George Floyd’s constitutional rights

Derek Chauvin, the police officer who murdered George Floyd in Minneapolis in May 2020, has been sentenced to 21 years in federal prison for violating Floyd’s civil rights. Chauvin pleaded guilty in December and will not have to pay restitution, CBS reports.

During sentencing, U.S. District Court Judge Paul Magnuson said Chauvin “must be held responsible” for his actions, not only in killing Floyd, but also for his part in destroying the lives of three fellow office involved in the Floyd murder.

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

Magnuson accepted Chauvin’s plea deal in May, which called for a sentence of anywhere between 20 and 25 years. The judge also cut seven months off the 21-year sentence to credit the time Chauvin has already served for his conviction on murder and manslaughter charges in a Minnesota court, for which he received a 22.5 year sentence in June. He will serve the state and federal sentences concurrently in federal prison.

Before his sentencing Thursday, Chauvin offered no apology but wished Floyd’s children “all the best in their lives” and “excellent guidance in becoming good adults.”

Philonise Floyd, George’s brother, requested a life sentence for Chauvin, noting that he had been experiencing nightmares since his brother’s death. Prosecutors pushed for Chauvin to serve the full 25 years on the grounds that his actions were “cold-blooded and needless.” They also cited his history of excessive and misused restraint—Chauvin’s plea included an admission that he had restrained a violated the civil right of a 14-year-old Black boy in 2017.

The defense asked for 20 years, stressing that Chauvin had already accepted responsibility for his actions and received 22.5 years from the state for Floyd’s murder. Attorney Eric Nelson wrote that his “remorse will be made apparent to this Court.”

Chauvin is currently appealing his state murder conviction, alleging that jurors were swayed by the protests that followed his actions and the pretrial publicity.

The three other former Minneapolis police officers involved in the killing of George Floyd—Tou Thao, J. Alexander Keung, and Thomas Lane—were convicted in February on federal civil rights charges.

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