Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin receives an additional 21 years in federal prison.
White police officer Derek Chauvin was sentenced to 21 years in prison by a US federal court on Thursday for suffocating African-American George Floyd with his knee during his arrest.
The 46-year-old former agent had previously been sentenced for murder to 22 and a half years in prison by the Minnesota State Court, but he appealed the sentence.
The federal sentence for violation of the black man's civil rights is, in turn, final since it results from a plea agreement.
It can be served at the same time as the other sentence, said Judge Paul Magnuson of the Saint-Paul court, giving him credit for the seven months already spent in detention.
“I don't know why you did this, but putting your knee on someone's neck until they die is wrong. And for that, you must be severely punished. »
— Judge Paul Magnuson speaking to Derek Chauvin
In a short intervention, Derek Chauvin wished the children of George Floyd success in life, without apologize or express any remorse.
His mother Carolyn Pawlenty assured that he was not a heartless racist, before she adding all lives matter, regardless of skin color, hijacking the Black Lives Matter slogan.
Called to the stand, the brother of the deceased, Philonise Floyd, demanded the maximum sentence against Derek Chauvin, saying he had not slept since the tragedy.
On May 25, 2020, this seasoned Minneapolis police officer knelt on the African American's neck for nearly ten minutes, indifferent to the interventions of panicked passers-by and the groans of George Floyd.
A mural in tribute to George Floyd, whose death during a police intervention has angered many Americans.
The scene, filmed and posted online, sparked huge protests against racism and police brutality across the United States and beyond.
In a well-attended trial in Minnesota state court in the spring of 2021, his lawyer argued that George Floyd died of an overdose, combined with health problems, and had assured that Derek Chauvin had used justifiable force.
He did not convince the jurors and the former police officer was found guilty of murder and sentenced to 22 and a half years in prison. He appealed against this verdict.
At the same time, federal justice had opened its own proceedings by indicting him, as well as his three former colleagues, for violation of the constitutional rights of George Floyd, more particularly the right not to be the victim of unreasonable use. force by a police officer.
These double prosecutions are authorized in the United States, but relatively rare, and reflect the importance of this case which has reopened a fiery debate on the racist past of the United States.
In the federal case, he initially pleaded not guilty, before changing his strategy in December 2021, admitting some responsibility for the first time.
In his recognition guilty, he admitted to using force, knowing it was wrong, and without legal justification.
He had also admitted wrongdoing in the violence inflicted on a 14-year-old black teenager in 2017, whom he had held to the ground under his knee for a quarter of an hour.
The four Minneapolis police officers charged in the George Floyd case are Derek Chauvin (top left), Tou Thao (top right), Thomas Lane (bottom right) and J. Alexander Kueng (bottom left).
I hope he will use the time ahead of him to think about what he could have done differently, commented the young man, John Pope, during the hearing on Thursday. p>
In exchange for his admission of wrongdoing, it was agreed that Derek Chauvin would serve his sentence in a federal prison rather than in the maximum security state prison, where he is currently being held in solitary confinement to protect him from other prisoners.
The three other officers, who remained passive during the ordeal of George Floyd, were found guilty in February in court federal court, but their sentence has not yet been handed down.
State justice has also charged them with complicity in murder. One of them, Thomas Lane, has pleaded guilty and will be sentenced on September 21. The trial of the other two defendants, Tou Thao and Alexander Kueng, is due to start on October 24.
With information from Agence France-Presse