Minneapolis: The US white ex-police officer convicted of murdering African-American George Floyd—after kneeling on his neck for nine minutes – has been sentenced to 22 years and six months in jail.
The dying gasps of George Floyd (49) ignited global protests against racism in the US and police brutality.
The punishment - which came after Derek Chauvin broke his yearlong silence to offer condolences to the Floyd family and express hope that they eventually have "some peace of mind" - is one of the longest prison terms ever imposed on a US police officer in the killing of a Black person.
Still, Floyd family members and others were disappointed. The sentence fell short of the 30 years prosecutors had requested. And with good behaviour, Chauvin, 45, could get out on parole after serving two-thirds of his sentence, or about 15 years.
Judge Peter Cahill went beyond the 12 1/2-year sentence prescribed under state guidelines, citing Chauvin's "abuse of a position of trust and authority and also the particular cruelty" shown to Floyd.
placed them on each other's shoulders. The reaction was subdued as people debated whether the sentence was long enough. Some cursed in disgust.
Chauvin 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.
On Friday, Chauvin, who did not testify at his trial, removed his mask and turned toward the Floyd family, speaking only briefly because of what 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 peace of mind," he said without further explanation.
Chauvin's mother, Carolyn Pawlenty, pleaded for mercy for her son, saying his reputation has been unfairly reduced to that of "an aggressive, heartless and uncaring person" and a racist.
"I want this court to know that none of these things are true and that my son is a good man," she told the judge, adding: "Derek, I want you to know I have always believed in your innocence, and I will never waver from that." "I will be here for you when you come home," she said.
Prosecutor Matthew Frank, in asking the judge to exceed the sentencing guidelines, said "tortured is the right word" for what the officer did to Floyd.
"This is not a momentary gunshot, punch to the face. This is 9½ minutes of cruelty to a man who was helpless and just begging for his life," Frank said.