MINNEAPOLIS — Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer convicted of murdering George Floyd, received a 22-and-a-half-year term on Friday, which was less than the 30-year penalty requested by prosecutors, but it may still give some closure.
In a joint statement with Floyd’s family, attorney Benjamin Crump stated, “For once, a police officer who wrongfully took the life of a Black man was called to account.” “While this shouldn’t be extraordinary, it is sadly so.”
“By bringing closure and responsibility, this historic sentencing takes the Floyd family and our nation one step closer to healing,” the statement continued.
About two months after Chauvin was convicted of second-and third-degree murder, as well as second-degree manslaughter, Hennepin County Court Judge Peter Cahill sentenced him. He is still charged with violating Floyd’s civil rights by the federal government.
Crump commended “millions of Americans” for raising their voices about police accountability and demanding justice for Floyd at a press conference following the hearing.
“Thank you for allowing us to breathe a bit better today,” Crump added.
The months of countrywide protests that erupted following his brother’s murder, according to Terrence Floyd, ushered in change.
At the press conference, he remarked, “The reason we got here is because of your struggle and our fight together.” “You took to the streets, and we’re grateful.”
“I asked for justice for my brother, some sort of accountability,” Philonise Floyd, another of Floyd’s brothers, said.
He stated, “We’re still battling.” “That’s something I’m unable to stop.”
Rodney Floyd, George Floyd’s younger brother, described the penalty as “a slap on the wrist.”
“We received more than we expected since we’ve been disappointed previously,” Sharpton explained. “It’s longer than we’ve ever received but shorter than we’ve gotten in the past,” he added.
Floyd’s cousin, Tara Brown, also pleaded with legislators to adopt real police reform legislation.
“We’re staying active,” she added, “and we want to make sure you stay in the battle.” “Please don’t give up.”
Cedric Alexander, the former president of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, termed the judgment “closure to that matter” in an interview on MSNBC.
Alpha Wallace, 62, of Cumming, Georgia, said he and his friends decided to stop by the Hennepin County Government Center this week to hear Chauvin’s sentencing and express their support for Floyd’s family.
She stated, “It could happen anyplace.” “It has,” she says.
Wallace expressed her optimism that Chauvin’s punishment will act as a deterrence to police wrongdoing and result in police accountability.
“Hopefully, if someone is murdered inadvertently by a police officer, the officer will not get away with it,” she added.
Many people expressed dissatisfaction with the decision, believing it should have been harsher.
Carl Cage, 66, of St. Paul, Minnesota, stated, “I simply wanted him to receive enough time so he couldn’t get out.”
Cahill, he feels, blew an opportunity to make a statement.
Floyd, a Black guy, was tied facedown while Chauvin, a white man, squatted for 912 minutes on his neck. Floyd was arrested outside Cup Foods convenience store on May 25, 2020, after a store employee accused Floyd of attempting to pass a phony $20 note.
Floyd stated he couldn’t breathe many times, but Chauvin ignored his cries. Floyd died after he “looked to be enduring physical discomfort,” according to a statement from Minneapolis police. Floyd was not restrained on the sidewalk, according to the statement.
Bystander Darnella Frazier, who was 17 at the time, submitted a smartphone video to Facebook that went viral and molded much of the public’s perspective of Floyd’s arrest and dying moments. The day following Floyd’s death, Chauvin and three other policemen who were on the scene were dismissed. The clip earned Frazier a Pulitzer Prize Special Citation last month.
Police officers have been keeping a tight eye on the situation.
Because Chauvin’s death of Floyd was “such an egregious violation of trust,” Cambridge Police Commissioner Branville Bard Jr. predicted a lengthier term for Chauvin.
However, Bard believes the sentencing will have an influence on police officers because it sends a message that “jail time might be the price you pay for failing to uphold the oath you pledged to protect.”
He believes this will have a good effect, as cops will be “less inclined to abuse the public’s confidence.”
“Asking them to reflect on the sentence and how it really reaffirmed the need to retain that professionalism that we take pride in,” Bard said he planned to send a message to all members of his department before the end of Friday.
The punishment, according to a police officer with the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington, D.C., will have a limited impact on street-level officers since what Chauvin did was way outside the limits of typical police activity and something they would never do.
The D.C. cop stated, “I don’t know a single officer that believes Derek Chauvin is innocent.”
But, according to the officer, many rank-and-file cops are more concerned about the forthcoming trials of three less experienced officers, including two rookies, who have been charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter for failing to stop Chauvin.
According to him, the convictions of those younger cops might cause numerous policemen to resign and deter many future police recruits from joining the department.
“I’m extremely worried about what’s going to happen in terms of policing if they’re proven guilty,” the D.C. officer added. “We already have a shortage of individuals who want to perform this work, and if we get to the point where rookies are convicted of crimes and sentenced to jail, I’m not sure what will happen to the profession.”
Meanwhile, Diane Goldstein, a retired lieutenant from the Redondo Beach Police Department in California and the executive director of the Law Enforcement Action Partnership, a nonprofit group dedicated to increasing public trust in law enforcement, believes the sentence will have an impact.
“I believe the sentence sends a message to law enforcement that killings like this will be held accountable,” she added. “It will serve as a deterrent to police enforcement.” I believe the cops will consider it.”
“We have a responsibility to make sure this doesn’t happen again,” she added, “and if it does, that officer will be held accountable.”
Janelle Griffith contributed to this story from Minneapolis. Dennis Romero contributed to this story from San Diego. Jon Schuppe contributed reporting from New York.