The former police officer Derek Chauvin who kneeled on George Floyd’s back has been sentenced to a little over three years in prison, AP News reports. The sentence was handed down by a judge in Minneapolis on Thursday. The former officer, Derek Chauvin, was found guilty of second-degree murder and manslaughter in Floyd’s death last May.
The judge ruled that Derek Chauvin’s crimes were aggravated by the fact that he acted with particular cruelty, given that George Floyd was “particularly vulnerable” while lying on the ground with his hands handcuffed behind his back. This is far less than the maximum sentence of 40 years that Derek Chauvin was facing, but it is still a significant prison sentence for his actions. The judge in the case said that Derek Chauvin’s actions were “heinous” and “horrible,” and that he showed a “depraved mind.”
This is far from the justice that many activists and members of the public have demanded, but it is a step in the right direction. Chauvin’s sentencing sends a strong message that police officers will be held accountable for their actions, and it may deter other officers from using excessive force in the future.
George Floyd’s death sparked nationwide protests against police brutality and racial injustice, and led to a number of reforms being enacted at the local, state, and federal levels.