George Floyd’s family criticises Derek Chauvin’s prison sentence as a ‘slap on the wrist’

George Floyd’s family members have criticized the length of his murderer’s prison sentence as a “slap on the wrist”. Former Minneapolis policeman Derek Chauvin has been sentenced to 22 and a half years in prison for murdering Mr. Floyd in May 2020 after a trial widely seen as a watershed moment in the history of US policing. A jury found Chauvin, 45, guilty on 20 April of unintentional second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter.

Prosecutors had asked for a 30-year sentence, double the upper limit indicated in sentencing guidelines for a first-time offender. Mr. Floyd’s brother Rodney and his nephew Brandon Williams criticized the ruling as a “slap on the wrist”. “We were served a life sentence,” Mr. Williams said outside the courthouse. “We can’t get George back. Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill said it was essential to recognize the pain of the Floyd family and acknowledged the global notoriety of the case, only to say it would not sway him.

“I’m not going to attempt to be profound or clever because it’s not the appropriate time,” Judge Cahill said, explaining his reasoning would be laid out in a 22-page memorandum. “I’m not basing my sentence on public opinion. I’m not basing it on the attempt to send any messages.

The job of a trial court judge is to apply the law to specific facts and to deal with individual cases.

Floyd family lawyer Ben Crump said the sentencing would help bring the family “one step closer to healing”.

US President Joe Biden said the sentence was “appropriate”.

“I don’t know all the circumstances that were considered, but it seems to me, under the guidelines, that seems appropriate,” Mr. Biden said. Before the sentence was delivered, Mr. Floyd’s brother Terrence struggled to fight back the tears as he read a statement to the court. “I wanted to know from the man himself: why? What were you thinking? What was going through your head when you had your knee on my brother’s neck?” he said.

He reiterated that the family is seeking maximum punishment.

“On behalf of my family and me, we seek the maximum penalty. We don’t want to see any more slaps on the wrist. We’ve been through that already.”

George Floyd’s brother Terrence struggled to fight back the tears as he read a statement before the sentencing.

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Mr. Floyd’s other brother, Philonise, likewise asked for Chauvin to be given the maximum sentence possible.

“My family has been given the maximum life sentence. We will never be able to get George back,” he said.

In a brief address before the sentence, Chauvin said he was limited in stating due to legal matters but told the court: “I want to give my condolences to the Floyd family.”

His mother, Carolyn Pawlenty, fought back the tears as she defended her son.

“I believe a lengthy sentence will not serve Derek well,” she said. “When you sentence my son, you will also be sentencing me.”Police officer Derek Chauvin’s mother, Carolyn Pawlenty, is seen during victim impact statements.” src=”″ alt=” In this screen grab from video, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin’s mother Carolyn Pawlenty is seen during victim impact statements.” width= “700” height= “430”/>

In this screen grab from the video, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin’s mother, Carolyn Pawlenty, is seen during victim impact statements.

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Video of Chauvin, who is white, kneeling on the neck of Mr. Floyd, a 46-year-old black man in handcuffs, for more than nine minutes, sparked outrage worldwide and the largest protest movement seen in the United States decades. In a sentencing memorandum, prosecutors from the Minnesota attorney general’s office wrote that Chauvin’s crime “shocked the conscience of the Nation”.

In a six-page ruling last month, Judge Cahill found that prosecutors had shown four aggravating factors would allow him to hand down a longer prison term than sentencing guidelines would dictate. The judge agreed that Chauvin abused his position of trust and authority, treated Mr. Floyd with particular cruelty, committed the crime as part of a group with three other officers, and committed the murder in front of children. Through his attorney Eric Nelson, Chauvin has asked the judge to sentence him to probation, writing that the murder of Mr. Floyd was “best described as an error made in good faith.”

Molly Aronson

I'm an award-winning blogger who enjoys all things creative but is especially passionate about lifestyle design. I blog over at I love that I get to share my passion for healthy living, fashion, fitness, and travel with readers from all over the world.

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