"To put your knee on another person's neck until they expire is wrong, and thus you need to be substantially punished," US judge tells Derek Chauvin while sentencing him on federal charges.
Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer convicted of the murder of George Floyd, has been sentenced to more than 20 years in prison on US federal charges.
"I really don't know why you did what you did," US District Court Judge Paul Magnuson said on Thursday in delivering the sentence.
"To put your knee on a person’s neck until they expired is simply wrong. … Your conduct is wrong and it is offensive," Magnuson said.
"You must be substantially punished."
Chauvin, who is white, pleaded guilty in December 2021 to violating the civil rights of Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, during his May 2020 arrest for allegedly using a counterfeit $20 bill to buy a pack of cigarettes.
Chauvin, a 19-year veteran of the Minneapolis police force, was captured in a video that went viral kneeling on Floyd's neck for nearly 10 minutes until he passed out and died.
Chauvin spoke briefly before the sentencing but did not apologise for his actions.
Addressing Floyd's children, he said: "I just want to say that I wish them all the best in their life and have excellent guidance in becoming great adults."
Chauvin is already serving a 22-and-a-half-year sentence after being convicted of state murder charges for Floyd's death, which sparked protests against racial injustice and police brutality across the United States.
The state and federal sentences are to run concurrently but the 46-year-old Chauvin will be allowed to serve his term in a federal prison rather than in a Minnesota state penitentiary, where he has been held in solitary confinement.
Federal prosecutors had sought a sentence of 25 years.
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Impact on relatives
George Floyd's brother, Philonise Floyd, delivered a "victim impact" statement and asked for a life sentence for Chauvin.
He said he suffered from nightmares because of his brother's death.
Chauvin has appealed his Minnesota state murder conviction but his sentencing on the federal charges will ensure he will spend two decades in prison regardless of the outcome of his appeal.
Chauvin and three other police officers who were on the scene during Floyd's fatal arrest — Tou Thao, Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane — were charged with violating his constitutional rights and failing to respond to his medical needs.
"You absolutely destroyed the lives of three young officers by taking command of the scene," Magnuson told Chauvin.
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