FORMER Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who murdered George Floyd by kneeling on his neck, has been sentenced to 22 and a half years in prison.
Floyd, a Black man, was killed in May 2020 after police officers responded to a call that he had used a counterfeit $20 bill at a convenience store in the city.
Chauvin was found guilty by a jury in April of second- and third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter for pressing his knee on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes as he begged for his life and repeatedly said, “I can’t breathe.”
Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill, who delivered the sentence on Chauvin on Friday, said he was not basing his sentencing on public opinion or any attempt to send any messages.
“What the sentence is not based on is emotion or sympathy, but at the same time I want acknowledge the deep and tremendous pain that all the families are feeling, especially the Floyd family. I acknowledge and hear the pain you are feeling.”
The sentence is 10 years more than the average sentence for the crime, which is 12-and-a-half years.
Under Minnesota law, Chauvin will serve two-thirds of the sentence in prison, and the remaining time on supervised release. He will also get credit for time already served in prison while awaiting his sentencing
Floyd’s murder was captured by bystanders on their phones and the viral video led to months of racial injustice protests across the United States.
Meanwhile, a 6-foot statue of Floyd erected in New York was vandalised by a white supremacist group, one day before Chauvin’s sentencing.
According to the New York Police Department (NYPD), Floyd’s face and the inscription were spraypainted black. The phrase ‘patriotfront.us’ was sprayed in white on the side of the statue.
The graffiti is the web address for the white supremacist group, Patriot Front. No arrests have been made and the police said investigation was ongoing.
Mayor Bill de Blasio took to Twitter to condemn the act. He wrote: “A racist, loathsome, despicable act of hate. The City Cleanup Corps is repairing the statue right now and a hate crime investigation is underway. We will bring these cowards to justice.”
Co-founder of ConfrontART Lindsay Eshelman said she was ‘devastated’ by the vandalism.
“You’re cowards. You did this at night when no one could see you. I’m restoring it in the day when everybody can see your hate,” she told the vandals.
ConfrontART had partnered the ‘We Are Floyd Foundation’ to erect the statue.