Gianna Floyd had a very simple message she wanted to tell her dad, George.
“It would be I miss you and I love you,” Gianna Floyd said.
But, that’s all she can do, say how much she misses him. She can never tell him as George Floyd was murdered in May 2020 at the hands of a police officer. On June 25, Gianna Floyd was one of the members of the Floyd family who spoke at the sentencing for disgraced cop Derek Chauvin.
A Minnesota judge sentenced Chauvin to 22-and-a-half-years in prison for killing George Floyd. A jury convicted Chauvin of second- and third-degree murder as well as second-degree manslaughter for killing Floyd during an arrest outside a Minneapolis store.
Philonise Floyd, George’s brother, spoke about how Chauvin held his knee to Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes during the arrest. He described the past 13 months as torture as the family has to relive his brother’s final minutes.
"Every day I have begged for justice to be served, reliving the execution of George, while people standing there begged him to let my brother breathe, and beg for his life,” Philonise Floyd said.
On May 25, 2020, Minneapolis police responded to a grocery store after Floyd used a fake $20 bill. Witnesses inside the store said Floyd appeared to be under the influence.
Officers arrived at the scene and found Floyd in a nearby vehicle. They spoke to Floyd, who was uncooperative and then officers went to arrest him. Police tried to put Floyd in the back of a police vehicle, but Floyd resisted.
Floyd said he was claustrophobic and could not breathe.
Officers took Floyd to the ground and held him there. Chauvin was one of the officers and he put his knee across the back of Floyd’s neck for several minutes as Floyd pleaded for his life. Chauvin kept Floyd restrained even as he passed out and was unconscious pressed against the pavement.
A crowd of bystanders watched and filmed the arrest. When the footage was posted online, national outrage grew and it sparked protest across the nation.
It wasn’t until paramedics arrived that police released their hold. Floyd was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Chauvin and three other officers were criminally charged in connection to the case. After a month-long trial, a jury convicted Chauvin of second- and third-degree murder as well as second-degree manslaughter. The criminal cases against the other officers are pending.
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Federal prosecutors have also accused the police officers of violating Floyd’s civil rights.
Philonise Floyd said Chauvin remained on top of his brother with a smirk when he pinned him to the ground.
“He had no regard for human life, George’s life,” Philonise Floyd said. He also added, “My family and I have been given a life sentence. We will never be able to get George back.”
Prosecutors argued Chauvin should get a sentence above the recommended 15 years because there were several mitigating factors. That included Chauvin was in a position of trust as a police officer and the murder happened in front of children.
The state also argued the killing was cruel as Floyd pleaded for his life, but officers did not change their position or help him.
Defense Attorney Eric Nelson said there were also mitigating factors, such as Chauvin has no criminal history. He asked for his client to get probation.
Chauvin was a decorated police officer who was quick to do what he was asked, Nelson said.
“He was proud to be a police officer because what he liked to do was help,” Nelson said.
Chauvin’s mom, Carolyn Pawlenty, also spoke during the sentencing. She said the happiest day of her life was when he was born. The second was when she pinned his police officer badge on him. She said her son is a good man and she didn’t like how he was portrayed in the media.
“Derek, I want you to know I have always believed in your innocence and I have never wavered I that,” Pawlenty said.
Chauvin spoke only briefly to the court and said he didn’t want to say too much because of pending legal matters, but he hoped when more information came out, it would bring the Floyd family closure.
“I do want to give my condolences to the Floyd family,” Chauvin said.
However, the Floyd family called for Chauvin to get the maximum sentence and not be released on parole. Terrence Floyd, George’s bother, said when George died, they were arraigning play dates. Those can now never happened.
Terrence Floyd said one day he will have to tell his daughter what happened to his uncle because it’s a case everybody knows. That means the family has to continually relive what happened to George Floyd.
“We seek the maximum penalty,” Terrence Floyd said. “We don’t want to see no more slaps on the wrist. We’ve been through that already. In my culture and my community, we’ve seen that.”
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