‘That was the first time that he ever said anything toward us,’ Philonise Floyd told CNN’s Don Lemon. ‘It was probably something good, but I’ll never be able to get my brother back. My brother was killed’
Chauvin’s statement was short and delivered without seeming emotion – a stark difference to George Floyd‘s seven-year-old daughter Gianna’s victim impact statement.
When asked what she would tell her father if she could see him again, Gianna responded, ‘It would be, I miss you and I love you.’
Both statements came before Judge Peter Cahill sentenced Chauvin to 22 and a half years in prison, going 10 years beyond what was called for in sentencing guidelines, but well below the 40 years maximum possible under the law.
Three other members of Floyd’s family, including his nephew Brandon Williams and brothers Terrence Floyd and Philonise, gave poignant victim impact statements in the courtroom Friday.
‘Immediately my life changed forever,’ Philonise said while wiping away tears. ‘I’ve been lifting my voice so that George’s life is not in vain. George’s life mattered.
‘I haven’t had a real night’s sleep because of the nightmares I constantly have, hearing my brother beg and plead for his life over and over again. Even saying, ‘They’re going to kill me, please, officer,’ screaming for our mom,’ he added in court today.
George Floyd’s brother, Philonise (center), told CNN Don Lemon (left) that Chauvin’s apology in court was the first time he addressed his family
George Floyd’s 7-year-old daughter Gianna testifies via a cell phone video before the sentencing of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for the murder of her father
‘Immediately my life changed forever,’ George’s Philonise Floyd said while wiping away tears. ‘For an entire year I had to relive George being murdered’
Floyd’s brother Terrence (left) tearfully gave his statement directed at Chauvin. ‘I want to know why? What were you thinking? What was gong through your head when you held your knee on my brother’s neck?’ His nephew Brandon Williams (right) said in his statement, ‘Chauvin killed George. Not only did he kill George but he also displayed a total lack of consideration for human life as he did so’
‘I have had to sit through each day of officer Derek Chauvin’s trial and watch the video of George dying for hours, over and over again. For an entire year, I had to relive George being tortured to death every hour of the day.’
Floyd’s brother Terrence tearfully gave his statement directed at Chauvin. ‘I want to know why. What were you thinking? What was gong through your head when you held your knee on my brother’s neck?’
‘On behalf of me and my family, we seek the maximum penalty,’ he said, ‘We don’t want to see no more slaps on the wrist. We’ve been through that already…no, no, no, no.’
‘If it was us, if the roles was reversed, there wouldn’t be no case,’ Terrence said. ‘It would have been open and shut. We’d have been under the jail for murdering somebody. So, we ask for that same penalty for Derek Chauvin.’
Floyd’s nephew Brandon Williams said in court, ‘Chauvin killed George. Not only did he kill George but he also displayed a total lack of consideration for human life as he did so. You saw it. I saw it. And millions of people across the country and the globe witnessed the act of hate.
‘The sudden murder of George has forever traumatized us. You may see us cry, but the full extent of our pain and trauma will never be seen with the naked eye.’ Williams added. ‘The heartbreak and hurt goes far beyond any number of tears we could ever cry. Words simply cannot express the pain, anguish, and suffering that our family and friends have endured since George’s murder. It has been truly unimaginable.’
‘Our family is forever broken,’ Williams said.
His family asked the judge to deliver the maximum sentence to Chauvin, without the possibility of parole.
Derek Chauvin also spoke briefly at his sentencing Friday to offer the Floyd family his condolences.
Chauvin said he could not give a full statement because of additional legal matters, but said, ‘There’s going to be some other information in the future that would be of interest. And I hope things will give you some peace of mind. Thank you.’
The former Minneapolis police officer, dressed in a gray suit and tie, with a buzz cut, was found guilty in April on all three counts – second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter – for kneeling on 46-year-old Floyd’s neck for nine minutes in May 2020.
Floyd’s death sparked months of national protests over mistreatment of black Americans by police and a cultural reckoning by many. At the time of his conviction, cheers rose from the crowds that had gathered outside the courthouse and down at the intersection of 38th and Chicago in Minneapolis, now known as George Floyd Square.
Derek Chauvin spoke briefly at his sentencing Friday to offer the Floyd family his condolences. Derek Chauvin, 45, is pictured at his sentencing dressed in a gray suit with a matching tie and buzz cut
Chauvin was captured on video kneeling on the neck of the 46-year-old Floyd (pictured) – suspected of using a counterfeit bill – for more than nine minutes until he passed out and died on May 25, 2020, while ignoring the victim’s pleas for air and help
Chauvin’s mother Carolyn Pawlenty made a surprise appearance at Friday’s sentencing.
‘The public will never know the loving and caring man he is but his family does,’ Pawlenty told the court through tears. ‘Though I haven’t spoken publicly I have always supported him 100% and always will.’
Pawlenty said Chauvin is her ‘favorite son’ and spoke of his innocence.
‘Derek has played over and over in his head the events of that day. I’ve seen the toll it has taken on him. I believe a lengthy sentence will not do him well. When you sentence my son you’ll also be sentencing me.
She then directed her statement to her son.
‘My happiest moment is when I gave birth to you and my second is when I was honored to pin your police badge on you. I remember you whispering to me, ”don’t stick me with it.” Derek, I want you to know I have always believed in your innocence.
‘I will be here for you when you come home.’
Chauvin’s mother Carolyn Pawlenty made a surprise appearance at Friday’s sentencing
Just hours before the sentencing, Judge Cahill denied the defense’s motion for a new trial and said he will not hold a hearing into jury misconduct.
The defense had asked for probation and sought a retrial ahead of an expected appeal. Chauvin’s lawyer has argued that he was deprived of a fair trial because of prosecutorial and jury misconduct and errors of law at trial.
Chauvin’s legal team is likely to take their arguments to the Court of Appeals.
Dozens of witnesses were heard and hundreds of items of evidence were submitted during the weeks of testimony.
The April verdict, in a relatively swift, across-the-board victory for Floyd’s supporters – set off jubilation mixed with sorrow across the city and around the nation. Hundreds of people poured into the streets of Minneapolis, some running through traffic with banners. Drivers blared their horns in celebration.
Chauvin had been captured on video kneeling on the neck of the 46-year-old Floyd – suspected of using a counterfeit bill – for more than nine minutes until he passed out and died on May 25, 2020, while ignoring the victim’s pleas for air and help.
‘Today, we are able to breathe again,’ Floyd’s younger brother Philonise said at a joyous family news conference in April where tears streamed down his face as he likened Floyd to the 1955 Mississippi lynching victim Emmett Till, except that this time there were cameras around to show the world what happened.
The jury of six whites and six black or multiracial people came back with its verdict after about 10 hours of deliberations over two days.
‘The public will never know the loving and caring man he is but his family does,’ Pawlenty told the court through tears. ‘Though I haven’t spoken publicly I have always supported him 100% and always will’
Rev. Al Sharpton, right, with hand on coat, along with family members of George Floyd leads a prayer before entering the Hennepin County Government Center for the sentencing
Chauvin was being held at Oak Park Heights the last eight weeks as he awaited sentencing. The prison, the state’s only maximum-security facility, built in 1982 and with a capacity for 473 male inmates, could be where Chauvin serves his sentence
This photo shows a cell in the Administrative Control Unit at the Oak Park Heights facility. This cell is similar to the one that former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin has been in since he was found guilty in April
Prosecutors earlier this month asked Judge Cahill to sentence Chauvin to 30 years in prison, submitting court documents which called the actions of the cop an ‘egregious abuse’ of his position.
‘Defendant’s conduct was also particularly cruel,’ prosecutors said.
They recalled that the judge had ruled there were four aggravating factors in the case, allowing him to depart from state sentencing guidelines and clearing the path for a tough sentence.
As a first-time offender, Chauvin had potentially faced 12 and a half years in prison on that count under the guidelines, but the aggravating factors mean Cahill can opt for a longer jail term.
Attorneys for Chauvin countered with a far different request – a sentence of time served and probation, claiming that their client was guilty of ‘an error made in good faith.’
Last week prosecutors insisted Chauvin should not get a new trial for murdering Floyd after claiming his original hearing was fair and impartial.
They set out their arguments for keeping the April verdict intact in a court document filed Wednesday, claiming Chauvin’s attorney Eric Nelson’s calls for a second trial were without merit.
George Floyd was seen in a video pleading that he couldn’t breathe as white officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee against his neck
The court was shown these photos of the injuries Floyd sustained as he was pinned to the ground on May 25
Prosecutors repeatedly referenced this timeline of Floyd’s fatal arrest during the trial and showed it during the trial
The document continued: ‘This Court has rejected many of these arguments before, and there is no reason for a different result now. Defendant´s scattershot and unavailing attempts to overturn his conviction should be denied.
It continued: ‘Defendant was unanimously convicted on all three counts based on evidence of his overwhelming guilt. He now seeks to escape his lawful conviction by any means.’ The argument was presented to Judge Peter Cahill – who presided over Chauvin’s original trial at Hennepin Government Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
It is unclear when he will rule on whether or not Chauvin should get a new trial.
The state’s document came in response to defense requests to grant Chauvin a new trial and to hold a hearing to question jurors about alleged misconduct. Among other things, defense attorney Eric Nelson said intense pretrial publicity, alleged prosecutorial misconduct and some decisions by the court made it impossible for Chauvin to get a fair trial.
Chauvin was being held at Oak Park Heights the last eight weeks as he awaited sentencing.
The prison, the state’s only maximum-security facility, built in 1982 and with a capacity for 473 male inmates, could be where Chauvin serves his sentence.
It is generally considered well run and comparatively secure, with only one murder within the walls in its almost 40 year history, and no one ever escaping.
Jordan and Royal Pacheco take a picture of their grandmother Evelyn at the intersection of 38th Street and Chicago Avenue, ahead of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin’s sentencing
Ahead of the sentencing, Minnesota AG Keith Ellison told 60 Minutes that despite his feelings of ‘gratitude’ and ‘satisfaction’ at seeing Chauvin convicted, he also felt sympathy for the cop.
‘I spent 16 years as a criminal defense lawyer. So, I will admit, I felt a little bad for the defendant. I think he deserved to be convicted. But he’s a human being,’ Ellison told Scott Pelley.
‘I’m not in any way wavering from my responsibility. But I hope we never forget that people who are defendants in our criminal justice system, that they’re human beings. They’re people. I mean, George Floyd was a human being. And so I’m not going to ever forget that everybody in this process is a person,’ the AG added.
Asked whether the judge should give the maximum sentence and send a ‘message,’ AG Ellison told CBS: ‘I think it is important for the Court to not go light or heavy. I don’t know if it’s right for a judge to send a message through a sentence because the sentence should be tailored to the offense, tailored to the circumstances of the case.
‘Look, the State never wanted revenge against Derek Chauvin. We just wanted accountability.’
The lawyer added that, despite the shocking video which was beamed around the world, he was never certain that Chauvin would be found guilty.
‘I was never convinced we were going to win this case until we heard the verdict of guilty. I remember what happened in the Rodney King case when I was a pretty young man, young lawyer,’ Ellison said.
Chauvin addresses Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis on April 15
Chauvin was led out of the court in handcuffs after the verdict came down on April 20
The centerpiece of the case was the excruciating bystander video of Floyd gasping repeatedly, ‘I can´t breathe’ and onlookers yelling at Chauvin to stop as the officer pressed his knee on or close to Floyd´s neck for what authorities say was 9 1/2 minutes, including several minutes after Floyd’s breathing had stopped and he had no pulse.
Prosecutors played the footage at the earliest opportunity, during opening statements, and told the jury: ‘Believe your eyes.’ From there it was shown over and over, analyzed one frame at a time by witnesses on both sides.
In the wake of Floyd´s death, demonstrations and scattered violence broke out in Minneapolis, around the country and beyond. The furor also led to the removal of Confederate statues and other offensive symbols such as Aunt Jemima.
In the months that followed, numerous states and cities restricted the use of force by police, revamped disciplinary systems or subjected police departments to closer oversight.
The ‘Blue Wall of Silence’ that often protects police accused of wrongdoing crumbled after Floyd´s death. The Minneapolis police chief quickly called it ‘murder’ and fired all four officers, and the city reached a staggering $27 million settlement with Floyd´s family as jury selection was underway.
Police-procedure experts and law enforcement veterans inside and outside the Minneapolis department, including the chief, testified for the prosecution that Chauvin used excessive force and went against his training.
Medical experts for the prosecution said Floyd died of asphyxia, or lack of oxygen, because his breathing was constricted by the way he was held down on his stomach, his hands cuffed behind him, a knee on his neck and his face jammed against the ground.
Chauvin’s attorney called a police use-of-force expert and a forensic pathologist to try to make the case that Chauvin acted reasonably against a struggling suspect and that Floyd died because of a heart condition and his illegal drug use. Floyd had high blood pressure and narrowed arteries, and fentanyl and methamphetamine were found in his system.
Under the law, police have certain leeway to use force and are judged according to whether their actions were ‘reasonable’ under the circumstances.
People cheer outside the Cup Foods where Floyd died after Chauvin was found guilty in April
The defense also tried to make the case that Chauvin and the other officers were hindered in their duties by what they perceived as a growing, hostile crowd.
Chauvin did not testify, and all that the jury or the public ever heard by way of an explanation from him came from a police body-camera video after an ambulance had taken the 6-foot-4, 223-pound Floyd away. Chauvin told a bystander: ‘We gotta control this guy ´cause he´s a sizable guy … and it looks like he´s probably on something.’
The prosecution´s case also included tearful testimony from onlookers who said the police kept them back when they protested what was happening.
Eighteen-year-old Darnella Frazier, who shot the crucial video, said Chauvin gave the bystanders a ‘cold’ and ‘heartless’ stare. She and others said they felt a sense of helplessness and lingering guilt from witnessing Floyd´s slow-motion death.
‘It´s been nights I stayed up, apologizing and apologizing to George Floyd for not doing more, and not physically interacting and not saving his life,’ she testified.
‘Justice would have been the maximum’: Al Sharpton slams Derek Chauvin’s 22½ year sentence for George Floyd’s murder while hundreds gathered outside Minneapolis court chant ‘bulls**t’ and ‘BLM’
The Rev Al Sharpton has condemned Derek Chauvin’s 22-and-a-half year sentence for the murder of George Floyd saying that he should have received the maximum.
There was an intense reaction from the crowd who chanted ‘Black Lives Matter‘ while holding placards and waving flags.
Some cursed in disgust and could be heard shouting ‘Bulls***!’, unhappy at the 22½ year sentence, of which Chauvin is likely to serve about 15 years.
The punishment – which fell short of the 30 years prosecutors had requested – came after Chauvin broke his more than yearlong silence in court to offer condolences to the Floyd family. He also said more information will be coming out and he hopes the family will eventually have ‘some peace of mind.’
With good behavior, Chauvin, 45, could get out on parole after serving two-thirds of his sentence.
Speaking outside the court, Sharpton acknowledged that Chauvin’s is the longest sentence ever handed to a police officer in Minnesota but said: ‘Justice would have been the maximum.’
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Reverend Al Sharpton, surrounded by relatives of George Floyd, talks to the media after the sentencing
Former policeman Derek Chauvin was sentenced to 22-and-a-half years in jail Friday for murdering African American George Floyd
Attorney Ben Crump hugs Reverend Al Sharpton at the sentencing of former police officer Derek Chauvin
‘This verdict and this sentencing is the longest sentence we’ve seen, but it is not justice, because George Floyd is in a grave tonight, even though Chauvin will be in jail. So let us not feel that we’re here to celebrate, because justice would have been George Floyd never have been killed. Justice would have been the maximum,’ Sharpton began.
‘We got more than we thought. Only because we have been disappointed so many times before. 22.5 years is longer than we’ve ever gotten, but shorter than what we should have gotten in the past. Let us remember, a man lost his life.
‘This is not a prayer of celebration, it’s a prayer to thank God for giving the strength of this family and those activists that stayed in the streets to make sure this court had to do what was right. Let me repeat, for those in the back, because those are the ones that marched, that this is the longest sentence they’ve ever given, but it is not justice. Justice is George Floyd would be alive.
Sharpton then joined the Floyd family in prayer.
‘We ask you to give this family strength and give them grace. And you have brought us now to the end of this particular proceeding. They will say it is more time than any time in history, but we will say that history has been long underserving its citizens. And we humbly thank you for giving this family the strength to stand where other families didn’t even get a court date.
‘We remember Erik garner today. We remember Michael Brown. We remember Jacob Blake, who is still with us. We remember Tamir Rice on his birthday. We remember Breonna Taylor.’
People gather to hear the Derek Chauvin sentencing in Minneapolis
‘Maximum accountability for George Floyd! Maximum accountability for George Floyd!’ lawyer Ben Crump chanted
Floyd family attorney Ben Crump also gave his thoughts on the sentencing saying the family had gotten ‘some measure of accountability’ but is hoping Chauvin gets the maximum at his upcoming federal civil rights trial.
Crump noted that it was the longest sentence a police officer has ever received in Minnesota.
‘Today represents a opportunity to be a turning point in America. This is the longest sentence that a police officer has ever been sentenced to in the history of the state of Minnesota. But this should not be the exception when a black person is killed by brutality by police. It should be the norm,’ Crump said.
‘And so when we think about real justice, real justice would be that George Floyd would still be here with his family. So what we got today was some measure of accountability, and we understand that there are still federal charges pending. So as his brothers and his family asks for the maximum, we’re still holding up for the maximum.
‘We have to remember, real justice in America will be black men and black women and people of color will not have to fear being killed by the police just because the color of their skin. That would be real justice. So we thank most of all the millions of Americans who raised their voice.
‘You all raised your voices, and because you raised your voices, that is why we got the guilty conviction, and that is why we got the longest sentence in the state of Minnesota history. So on behalf of the Floyd family, we want to say thank you to millions of Americans who all said, until we get justice for George Floyd, until we get accountability for George Floyd, none of us can breathe. We can breathe just a little easier today. And we thank you for that.’
Crump later roused the crown with a chant: ‘Maximum accountability for George Floyd! Maximum accountability for George Floyd!’
Justin Blake (L), uncle of Jacob Blake, stands outside the Hennepin County Government Center and listens to a live stream of the sentencing
Reverend Al Sharpton and Attorney Ben Crump hold a prayer with members of George Floyd’s family
Jennifer Starr Dodd, 37, streamed the proceedings from her phone as a large group of people watched over her shoulder. Members of the crowd broke into applause, and several said, ‘We´ll take it.’
Starr Dodd was grateful the sentence was not the ‘slap on the wrist’ she feared.
‘There´s going to be more George Floyds, there´s going to be more Trayvon Martins, there´s going to be more Daunte Wrights, unfortunately,’ she said, referring to other black people who died on the streets. ‘But I have hope now that they can get the consequences that they deserve for doing their missteps in their actions.’
In imposing the punishment, Judge Peter Cahill went beyond the 12 1/2-year sentence prescribed under state guidelines, citing ‘your abuse of a position of trust and authority and also the particular cruelty’ shown to Floyd.
Following Chauvin’s sentencing, he was immediately led back to prison. As with the verdicts in April, he showed little emotion when the judge pronounced the sentence. His eyes moved rapidly around the courtroom, his COVID-19 mask obscuring much of his face.
The fired white officer was convicted of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter for pressing his knee against Floyd’s neck for up to 9 ½ minutes as the 46-year-old Black man gasped that he couldn’t breathe and went limp on May 25, 2020.
Bystander video of Floyd’s arrest on suspicion of passing a counterfeit $20 bill at a corner store prompted protests around the world and led to scattered violence in Minneapolis and beyond, as well as demands for overhauling policing and discipline.
On Friday, Chauvin, who did not testify at his trial, removed his mask and turned toward the Floyd family, speaking only briefly because of he called ‘some additional legal matters at hand’ – an apparent reference to the federal civil rights trial, where his words could be used against him.
‘I do want to give my condolences to the Floyd family. There’s going to be some other information in the future that would be of interest. And I hope things will give you some some peace of mind,’ he said, without further explanation.
People gather to watch court proceedings outside of the Hennepin County Government Center