Civil Rights Attorney Ben Crump, Floyd Family Legal Team React to Derek Chauvin Sentencing

George Floyd's family and their attorney, Ben Crump, hailed the sentence former Minnesota police officer Derek Chauvin received Friday, calling it "historic" and saying it provided "closure and accountability" for both the family and a nation reckoning with racial justice.

"This historic sentence brings the Floyd family and our nation one step closer to healing by delivering closure and accountability," the family and their legal team said in a statement.

"For once, a police officer who wrongly took the life of a Black man was held to account," the statement went on. "While this shouldn't be exceptional, tragically it is. Day after day, year after year, police kill Black people without consequence. But today, with Chauvin's sentence, we take a significant step forward—something that was unimaginable a very short time ago."

The statement added, "Now, we look for Chauvin to also be convicted on the federal charges pending against him and for the three other officers to face consequences for their actions. That would represent important additional steps toward justice."

Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill sentenced Chauvin to 22 and a half years in prison for Floyd's murder last year. Moments afterward, Crump tweeted, "22.5 YEARS! This historic sentence brings the Floyd family and our nation one step closer to healing by delivering closure and accountability."

Chauvin had faced up to 40 years in prison, but state prosecutors asked for 30 years.

Following the sentencing, the Floyd family also called on the Senate to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act to create "real, lasting change" with police reform.

"At the same time, it's important to acknowledge how far we've come," the family's statement said. "Those who raised their voices to demand justice for George Floyd need to know that their activism made a difference. Not only were Chauvin and the City of Minneapolis held accountable but cities and states across the country have passed meaningful reforms, including restrictions on chokeholds and better training and protocols."

The statement added, "We need this sentence to usher in a new era of accountability that transforms how Black people are treated by police. To achieve that—real, lasting change in police departments from coast to coast—we need the U.S. Senate to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act without further delay."

George Floyd Family Derek Chauvin Sentencing
Philonise Floyd, George Floyd's brother, looks down at Gianna Floyd, George's daughter, while standing with members of the Floyd family on May 25 at the U.S. Capitol. Erin Scott/Pool

Before the sentencing, Floyd's daughter, nephew and two brothers spoke about the impact his death has had on their family. The brothers, Philonise and Terrence, asked for the maximum sentence, saying that they have waited every day since Floyd's death for justice and that if the roles had been reversed, there would be no speculation about what the sentence would be.

"I haven't had a real night's sleep because of the nightmares I constantly have, hearing my brother beg and plead for his life over and over again," Philonise told the judge. "Even saying, 'They're going to kill me. Please, officer.' Screaming for our mom."

Terrence said the family didn't want to see another "slap on the wrist" and called for real justice in the form of a maximum sentence.

"On behalf of me and my family, we seek the maximum penalty," Terrence said in court. "We don't want to see no more slaps on the wrist. We've been through that already.... No, no, no, no."

He added, "If it was us, if the roles was reversed, there wouldn't be no case. It would have been open and shut. We'd have been under the jail for murdering somebody. So we ask for that same penalty for Derek Chauvin."

Floyd's 7-year-old daughter, Gianna, delivered an impact statement in a video, in which she said she asks about her late father all the time. She said if she could see him again, she would tell him, "I miss you and I love you."