Protestors and local residents gather at the George Floyd Memorial at the corner of Chicago Avenue and 38th Street, the site of the murder of George Floyd, to hear the verdict announcement following jury deliberations in the Derek Chauvin trial in Minneapolis, Minn., on April 20, 2021. Chauvin is expected to be sentenced on federal charges Thursday. File Photo by Jemal Countess/UPI | License Photo
July 7 (UPI) -- A federal judge sentenced former Minneapolis, Minn., police officer Derek Chauvin on Thursday to more than 20 years in prison for violating George Floyd's civil rights when he killed him in 2020.
The judge sentenced Chauvin to 252 months in prison but shaved off seven months for time served.
Chauvin pleaded guilty to the federal charges in May and was expected to be sentenced to 20-25 years in prison.
His attorney, Eric Nelson, asked for his client to be sentenced to 20 years in prison. George Floyd's brother, Philonise Floyd, though, asked for the maximum sentence.
"The [Floyd] family and I have been given a life sentence, we will never get George back," he said.
Chauvin addressed George Floyd's children, who attended the hearing. He said he wished them the best in their life.
He is already serving a 22.5-year sentence on state murder charges for Floyd's death.
"In no uncertain terms, George Floyd should be alive today," Assistant Attorney General Kirsten Clarke for the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division said in a statement. "Defendant Chauvin's use of excessive force and his failure to provide medical care resulted in Mr. Floyd's senseless murder."
The sentence also covers a separate incident in which Chauvin admitted in his plea deal to holding 14-year-old John Pope Jr. by the throat in September of 2017. He also admitted to hitting the child multiple times in the head with a flashlight, resulting in injury, and to holding the handcuffed child face-down for about 15 minutes with his knee on Pope's neck, shoulders and upper back.
"Chauvin's actions constituted a grave abuse of police authority and a clear violation of these individuals' civil rights," U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger for the District of Minnesota said. "To the victims, their families and to the broad community: although the harm that Chauvin caused will never be erased, today's sentence of more than 20 years in prison represents a measure of justice and accountability."
Chauvin was convicted in April 2021 of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter for kneeling on the back of a subdued George Floyd's neck for almost 10 minutes on May 25, 2020. The incident was recorded on video by witnesses and the footage was seen worldwide. Floyd repeatedly told Chauvin that he couldn't breathe.
George Floyd's death touched off months of outrage and demonstrations in Minneapolis and across the United States to call attention to police brutality.
Based on the plea deal earlier this month, Chauvin will serve the state and federal sentences concurrently.
On April 27, a Minnesota Department of Human Rights report found that the Minnesota Police Department violated the state's Human Rights Act by engaging "in a pattern or practice of race discrimination."
Demonstrators hold a sign in Los Angeles on June 14 for Breonna Taylor, a black woman who was shot by police in her home while she was sleeping. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo