(Reuters) – Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, convicted last year of killing George Floyd, was sentenced on Thursday to 21 years in prison on separate federal charges of violating Floyd’s civil rights during his deadly May 2020 arrest, reported local news channels.
Chauvin, who pleaded guilty to the federal charges in December, is already serving a 22 1/2-year sentence in a Minnesota prison for Floyd’s murder after a state court trial last year. The federal sentence will run concurrently and will see Chauvin transferred to federal prison.
US District Judge Paul Magnuson announced the sentence in St. Paul, Minnesota, saying he was crediting Chauvin with the seven months he has already served in state prison, removing them from the 21-year federal sentence. His federal prison sentence will be followed by five years of supervised release.
Chauvin’s decision to plead guilty avoided a second criminal trial for him, but it almost certainly means he will spend more time behind bars.
Chauvin, 46, who is white, admitted he violated Floyd’s right not to face an “unreasonable seizure” by kneeling on the handcuffed black man’s neck for more than 9 minutes in a murder captured on cellphone video. Floyd’s death sparked protests in many cities across the United States and around the world against police brutality and racism.
As part of his plea deal with prosecutors, Chauvin also pleaded guilty to violating the rights of John Pope Jr., who was 14 years old when Chauvin struck his head with a flashlight before kneeling on his neck in a violent arrest several years before the arrest. Floyd’s murder.
“I feel like it took the joy out of me,” Pope told the court in a victim impact statement, reported WCCO, the CBS News affiliate in Minnesota.
Philonise Floyd also addressed the court before sentencing, saying the dying screams of her brother George Floyd haunted her nightmares. He asked the judge to sentence Chauvin to life in prison.
Chauvin spoke to say that he recognized the court’s difficulty in handling a case in a “politically charged environment” and that he wanted Pope and Floyd’s children to have productive and rewarding lives, WCCO reported. Chauvin did not apologize, local media reported.
At his state trial last year, Chuavin was found guilty of second-degree intentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. People sentenced to prison for serious crimes in Minnesota are generally released on parole after serving two-thirds of their sentence.
Chauvin’s guilty plea to the civil rights charges came as part of a plea deal with prosecutors that saw him face 20 to 25 years in federal prison. In that agreement, he admitted for the first time that he was to blame for Floyd’s death. Federal prosecutors had asked Magnuson to sentence Chauvin to 25 years.
Floyd could be seen on video pleading for his life before falling motionless on the road below Chauvin’s knee.
Chauvin was helping three fellow officers arrest Floyd in May 2020 on suspicion that Floyd had used a counterfeit $20 bill when buying cigarettes. Those three, Tou Thao, J. Alexander Keung and Thomas Lane, were found guilty in federal court in February of violating Floyd’s rights. They have not yet been given a sentencing date.
A medical examiner determined that the police restraint prevented Floyd from breathing.
(Reporting by Jonathan Allen in New York; Editing by Will Dunham and Bradley Perrett)