Derek Chauvin has been sentenced to 21 years in prison for violating George Floyd’s civil rights. The sentence comes after the former Minneapolis police officer who murdered George Floyd pleaded guilty to federal civil rights violations last December, The New York Times reports.
Federal prosecutors asked U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson to sentence Chauvin to 25 years, while the defense asked for 20. Magnuson hit in between those requests, sentencing Chauvin to 21 years on Thursday, with credit for the time he has served, NBC reports.
In May 2021, Chauvin, along with three other ex-Minneapolis cops, were indicted by a federal grand jury on charges related to violating Floyd’s right to be free from unreasonable seizure and their failure to provide Floyd with medical care. Chauvin initially pleaded not guilty to the federal charges in September, but signaled his decision to change his plea via a motion filed Monday, Dec. 13.
During the hearing in St. Paul, Minnesota, a federal prosecutor said that, as part of the plea deal, they would seek a 25 year prison sentence, which would run concurrent to Chauvin’s 22.5-year state sentence (a judge will still finalize the full length of Chauvin’s sentence). Chauvin will serve his time in a federal penitentiary.
A lawyer for Chauvin, Eric Nelson, declined to comment to Rolling Stone.
In a statement, Attorney General Merrick Garland said, “Defendant Chauvin has pleaded guilty to two federal civil rights violations, one of which led to the tragic loss of George Floyd’s life. While recognizing that nothing can repair the harm caused by such acts, the Justice Department is committed to holding accountable those who violate the Constitution, and to safeguarding the civil rights of all Americans.”
Chauvin is already serving a 22.5-year state sentence for murder, but he could have garnered a much longer term — potentially life — had he gone to trial and been convicted. In pleading guilty to the federal charges and serving his time in a federal prison, he will also avoid a state penitentiary, where he could have potentially been around people he was responsible for incarcerating.
Since his conviction on murder charges in April 2021, Chauvin has been locked up in solitary confinement at Minnesota’s lone maximum security state prison. He is in the process of appealing his murder conviction.
As for the other three officers — Thomas Lane, J. Kueng and Tou Thao — charged in relation to Floyd’s death, they were convicted in February for violating Floyd’s civil rights.
This story was updated from the original Dec. 15, 2021 version on July 7, 2022 to reflect Chauvin being sentenced to 21 years for violating George Floyd’s federal civil rights.