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Derek Chauvin gets 22 1/2 years in prison for killing George Floyd

Published Jun 26, 2021 12:00 pm Updated Jun 26, 2021 12:15 pm

Former policeman Derek Chauvin was sentenced to 22 and a half years in jail Friday, June 25 for murdering African American George Floyd, a killing that sparked America's biggest demonstrations for racial justice in decades.

"The sentence is not based on emotion or sympathy," said Judge Peter Cahill, handing down the term at a Minneapolis court after prosecutors sought a 30-year sentence.

He added in a short address that it was also not based on "on public opinion," but on the law and the facts specific to the case.

But the brother of George Floyd urged the judge to hand down the maximum sentence of 40 years to his killer.

Terrence Floyd also urged Chauvin to explain the reason for murdering his brother during an arrest. 

"Why? What were you thinking? What was going through your head when you had your knee on my brother's neck?" said Floyd.

Meanwhile, Chauvin offered his "condolences" to the family of Floyd during his sentencing.

"At this time due to some additional legal matters at hand, I'm not able to give a full formal statement at this time," Chauvin told the Minneapolis court.

"But briefly though, I do want to give my condolences to the Floyd family," he 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," he added.

Chauvin's mother also had a chance to speak in the court. She said that her son was a "good man."

"I have always believed in your innocence and I will never waver from that," said Carolyn Pawlenty, addressing Chauvin in a Minneapolis court as he awaited his fate.

"No matter where you go, where you are. I will always be there to visit you," she added, urging the judge to show the killer leniency.

The lawyer for George Floyd's family hailed a "historic" step towards racial reconciliation. "This historic sentence brings the Floyd family and our nation one step closer to healing by delivering closure and accountability," lawyer Ben Crump tweeted.

US President Joe Biden also said that the jail sentencing was "appropriate." 

"I don't know all the circumstances that were considered but it seems to me, under the guidelines, that seems to be appropriate," Biden said. (AFP)

Photo by ED JONES / AFP