Biden calls Chauvin sentence 'appropriate'

President BidenJoe BidenHouse Democrat threatens to vote against party's spending bill if HBCUs don't get more federal aid Overnight Defense & National Security — The Pentagon's deadly mistake Haitians stuck in Texas extend Biden's immigration woes MORE on Friday said that the 22 1/2-year prison sentence handed down to former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd seemed “appropriate.”

“I don’t know all the circumstances that were considered but it seems to me, under the guidelines, that seems to be appropriate,” Biden told reporters on Friday afternoon when asked to react to the sentence during an Oval Office meeting with Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani.

Hennepin County District Court Judge Peter Cahill sentenced Chauvin to 22 1/2 years in prison for the murder of Floyd, whose death in police custody in May 2020 sparked nationwide protests against racial injustice and police brutality.

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Under Minnesota law, Chauvin will need to serve one-third of his sentence before he is eligible for supervised release. 

Floyd’s death last year was captured on camera, with footage showing Chauvin kneeling on his neck for more than nine minutes. Chauvin was convicted by a jury in April on all three charges of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

Biden has been in touch with the Floyd family, including as they were awaiting the verdict in April. As the jury deliberated, he told reporters he was “praying for the right verdict,” making clear that he believed Chauvin should be found guilty.

Following the verdict, Biden said that he believed it could be a "moment of significant change" but urged leaders not to be complacent. 

“We can’t leave this moment or look away thinking our work is done,” he said in remarks from the White House. “We have to listen, ‘I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe.’ Those were George Floyd’s last words. We can’t let those words die with him.”

Biden has also called for police reform legislation named after Floyd to be passed by Congress, meeting with Floyd’s family on the anniversary of his death.