Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was sentenced to more than 20 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to violating George Floyd’s civil rights in a 2020 murder-in-custody that sparked a summer of unrest across the U.S. Chauvin, 46 years old, is serving a 22 ½-year sentence for second degree murder after being found guilty in state court in April 2021, the Wall Street Journal reports. He has been serving that sentence in solitary confinement in a state prison for his protection and expects to be transferred to a federal facility under the plea agreement. Prosecutors sought the maximum 25-year sentence under his plea agreement, while Chauvin’s defense attorney asked for 20 years. Senior Judge Paul A. Magnuson on Thursday imposed a sentence of 245 months, or 20 years and five months.
“I really don’t know why you did what you did, but to put your knee on another person’s neck until they expire is simply wrong and for that conduct you must be substantially punished,” Judge Magnuson said, addressing the former officer. Chauvin will serve the state and federal sentences concurrently. Floyd’s brother, Philonise Floyd, asked for the maximum sentence. “My brother was murdered in broad daylight. He struggled and begged to breathe,” he said. “With a smirk on his face, Officer Chauvin used excessive force against his training.” Chauvin spoke briefly and softly during the proceeding, telling the Floyd family that he wished them the best. Three other former officers involved in the arrest—Tou Thao, Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng—were found guilty in February of aiding Mr. Chauvin in violating Floyd’s civil rights. They are awaiting sentencing.