Derek Chavin has been sentenced to 21 years in prison for the murder of George Floyd.
The sentence means Chauvin, 46, will be released from state prison, where he has been held in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day for the past 15 months, and will be allowed to go to federal prison.
“It’s wrong to put your knee on another person’s neck until they’re dead,” Judge Paul Magnuson told Chauvin during the civil rights violation sentencing.
“You should be punished considerably for that.”
Prosecutors and Mr Floyd’s family had sought a maximum term of 25 years on the grounds that Chauvin’s actions were cold-blooded and unnecessary.
The defense asked for 20 years and Chou took responsibility for what he did.
Mr Floyd, 46, died on 25 May 2020 in Minneapolis after 9 minutes and 29 seconds of kneeling on his neck. Mr Floyd was accused of passing a counterfeit $20 bill at a convenience store.
His murder sparked protests across the United States, a reckoning over police brutality and racism, and inspired the Black Lives Matter movement.
After a trial in April 2021, Chavin was found guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter and sentenced in June of that year to 22.5 years in state prison.
During Thursday’s sentencing, Chauvin issued a brief statement in which he addressed Mr Floyd’s children.
“I want to say that I want them to do better in life and have better guidance as adults.” he said.
The court also heard victim impact statements from members of Mr Floyd’s family, including his brother Filonese Floyd and girlfriend Courtney Rose.
Another statement came from John Pope regarding the 2017 incident in downtown Minneapolis where he was hit with a flashlight and choked by Chou.
Chavin pleaded guilty to using excessive force on Mr Pope, then 14.
“I hope he takes this time to think about what he could have done differently and what he did to others,” Mr Pope said.
Chavin’s mother, Carolyn Pawlenty, also issued a statement criticizing the “misrepresentation” that her son was racist.
“Everyone in Minnesota needs to heal and realize that all lives matter, regardless of the color of your skin. Every life matters,” Ms Pawlenty said.
Defense attorney Eric Nelson said on 25 May 2020 that there was more to Chauvin than his actions, adding that he was a “dedicated family man”.
Prosecutor LeAnn Bell argued Chauvin’s actions showed he deliberately killed Mr Floyd.
“He’s not a rookie. He’s been a police officer for years. He knows what his training is. He knows what he’s doing is wrong, and he does it anyway.
Judge Magnuson sentenced Chauvin to serve seven months after serving 252 months.
He added that Chauvin had “absolutely destroyed the lives of three other young officers” who were criminally prosecuted over Mr Floyd’s death.
Former Minneapolis police officers – Du Tao, J. Alexander Kyung et al Thomas Lane – Convicted on federal civil rights charges in Floyd’s killing in February. Judge Magnuson did not set sentencing dates for them.
Chauvin should also be compensated.
No filming or photography is allowed inside the federal courthouse in St. Paul.
Entering the federal arraignment, Chauvin admitted for the first time that he kneeled on Floyd’s neck – after the black man pleaded “I can’t breathe” and then didn’t respond – resulting in Mr Floyd’s death.
During his May 2020 arrest, Chauvin, who is white, admitted to intentionally depriving Mr Floyd of his right to be free from unreasonable seizures, including unreasonable force by a police officer.
Since he was convicted of murder in May 2021, Chauvin has been isolated from other inmates in the high-security administrative control unit at the Minnesota State Prison in Oak Park Heights.
Without access to job opportunities and educational programs, Chauvin had little freedom inside the facility, the official said.
He must shower, go to the bathroom, eat and sleep in his room, and is only allowed to exercise for an hour a day.
After Thursday’s sentencing, Chauvin is expected to spend more time behind bars than if he had faced only the state sentence.
However, experts say Chauvin could be safe and live under less restrictions in a federal prison.
His security status and ultimate destination are up to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, which can send him anywhere in the country.
Chauvin ran the risk of meeting the inmates he arrested or interrogated among the general population of the Minnesota State Penitentiary. While he may not entirely escape his fame in a federal prison elsewhere, he is unlikely to meet inmates with whom he has direct contact.
If the bureau decides he is safe enough in the general public, he will have more opportunities to move about the facility, work and participate in programming.
With good time served in the federal system, he could serve about 17 years behind bars.
The Associated Press contributed to this report
“Total coffee junkie. Tv ninja. Unapologetic problem solver. Beer expert.”