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22 years

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A murderer is going away for a long time:

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was sentenced Friday afternoon to 22½ years for murdering George Floyd last year by kneeling on his neck for more than nine minutes.

Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill handed down the sentence after hearing victim-impact statements from four members of Floyd’s family, while Chauvin’s mother pleaded for leniency, and Chauvin gave brief and cautious remarks that included expressing his condolences to Floyd’s loved ones.

Chauvin, 45, was taken immediately into custody for him to start serving his sentence. Cahill kept his remarks brief, saying he laid out the basis for the sentence in a court filing based on legal analysis and the facts presented during the trial.

“What the sentence is not based on is emotion or sympathy, but at the same time I want to acknowledge the deep and tremendous pain that all the families are feeling, especially the Floyd family,” Cahill said at the conclusion of the hearing, which lasted less than 90 minutes. “You have our sympathies and I acknowledge the pain that you are feeling.

Is this a just outcome? Well, George Floyd can’t be brought back. so justice is not on the table. But 22 years is a long sentence for second degree murder — let alone for a police officer in this country — and I’m not going to pretend I favor America’s unusually harsh sentencing practices (let alone the death penalty) for this particular case. It’s a reasonable sentence and certainly much longer than I would have hoped for when Chauvin was indicted.

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