The punishment — which fell short of the 30 years that prosecutors had requested — came after Chauvin broke his more than yearlong silence in court to offer condolences to the Floyd family and say he hopes more information coming out will eventually give them "some peace of mind."
With good behavior, Chauvin, 45, could be paroled after serving two-thirds of his sentence, or about 15 years.
Outside the courthouse, a crowd of about 50 people clasped hands and placed their hands on each other's shoulders. The reaction was subdued as people debated whether the sentence was long enough. Some cursed in disgust.
"Let us not feel that we're here to celebrate," said civil rights leader the Rev. Al Sharpton. "Justice would have been George Floyd never having been killed. Justice would have been the maximum. We got more than we thought only because we have been disappointed so many times before."