There will be no probation for former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin.
The ex-cop received more than a 22-year prison sentence on Friday, two months after a jury convicted him of three charges, including second-degree murder, in the death of George Floyd.
Chauvin’s attorney, Eric Nelson, had requested probation but the judge rejected that plea.
Nelson filed a motion for a new trial just before sentencing, contending that Chauvin did not receive a fair trial. Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill also denied that request before sentencing the former police officer.
Prior to sentencing, Floyd’s seven-year-old daughter, Gianna, provided a heartbreaking victim impact statement via video.
“I ask about him all the time,” the young girl noted in response to questions posed by someone off-camera. She said she thinks about how her father got hurt.
“I want to play with him, have fun and go on a plane ride with him,” Gianna said. “We used to have dinner every single night before we went to bed. He used to help me brush my teeth.”
She concluded: “Mean people did something to him.”
Several others gave emotional victim’s impact statements, including Floyd’s brothers Terrence and Philonise Floyd, and his nephew, Brandon Williams.
“What was going through your mind when you had your knee on my brother’s neck,” Terrence Floyd asked?
Philonise, a truck driver at the time of his brother’s murder, says he’s since been thrust in the role of an advocate for justice.
“I haven’t had a real night’s sleep because of the nightmares of hearing my brother beg and plead for his life,” he told the court as Chauvin sat masked and emotionless.
“I’ve been lifting my voice so that my brother didn’t die in vain,” Philonise Floyd added.
Chauvin briefly addressed the court offering condolences to the Floyd family but cryptically stated, “there’s going to be some other information in the future that would be of interest and that I hope will give you some peace of mind.”
Last month, Judge Cahill ruled prosecutors had proved four aggravating factors that warranted a lengthy prison sentence.
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison and prosecutors successfully showed that Chauvin abused his position of trust and authority, treated Floyd with “particular cruelty” and that the ex-cop committed a felony in the presence of children whom they said witnessed Floyd dying.
“It was particularly cruel to kill George Floyd slowly by preventing his ability to breathe when Mr. Floyd had already made it clear he was having trouble breathing,” Cahill determined.
Chauvin pressed his knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine and a half minutes, even refusing to let up as EMT workers arrived to provide medical assistance.
“[Floyd] was begging for his life and obviously terrified by the knowledge that he was likely to die but [Chauvin] remained indifferent,” Cahill continued.
Three other former officers involved in the incident, J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao, continue to await trial on federal charges of violating Floyd’s civil rights and state-level indictments of aiding and abetting both second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
The judge has set a trial date of March 2022 for the three officers.
Chauvin also faces federal charges of violating Floyd’s civil rights and a new indictment alleges that Chauvin deprived a 14-year-old of his civil rights in 2017.
If convicted of the additional charges, Chauvin could face stiffer punishment. According to federal law, violating someone’s civil rights could lead to life in prison or even the death penalty.
“This has been painful for Hennepin County, the state of Minnesota and throughout the country and most of all for the Floyd family,” Cahill said.