Jennifer Starr Dodd, center, and other supporters respond to the conviction of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd on Friday in George Floyd Square, Minneapolis. Chauvin was sentenced to 22 1/2 years in prison. Julio Cortez / AP hide caption
Julio Cortez / AP
Julio Cortez / AP
When Derek Chauvin’s 22 1/2 year sentence for the murder of George Floyd was announced to a crowd gathered outside the Minneapolis courthouse, people got the news with mixed reactions.
There was a muted debate over the procedure people were streaming on cellphones, but those who were louder took the news like a slap in the pit of their stomach.
Immediate shouts of “Is that it”, “This is not fair” and profanity rang out from angry protesters who hoped the former policeman would get more time behind bars.
Chauvin’s sentence for second degree murder, which Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill says is the 199 days Chauvin has already served, exceeds Minnesota minimum guidelines by about 10 years but is below the prosecution’s 30-year prison sentence.
Attorney General Keith Ellison said Chauvin’s sentence was “one of the longest any former police officer has ever received for unlawful use of lethal force.”
Chauvin, who is white, was convicted of accidental second degree murder, third degree murder, and second degree manslaughter in April for killing Floyd by pressing his knee on Floyd’s neck for more than 9 minutes while the Black Man was on top of that The sidewalk was handcuffed below.
The videotaped assassination of Floyd sparked protests across the country against police brutality and racial injustice.
While it is very rare for a police officer to be convicted of killing someone on duty and sentenced to such a severe sentence, many have been disappointed.
“Just because it’s most of the time doesn’t mean there’s enough time,” said local protest leader Nekima Levy Armstrong.
Others viewed a more than 20-year sentence as a hopeful precedent in the ongoing battle for law enforcement accountability.
In George Floyd Square, as the intersection where Floyd was killed is now known, Jennifer Starr Dodd joined a crowd who watched the trial on live stream and burst into applause at the verdict.
“There will be more George Floyds, there will be more Trayvon Martins, there will unfortunately be more Daunte Wrights,” Dodd said, referring to other blacks who died on the street. “But I now have hope that if they commit their wrongdoing in their actions, they will get the consequences they deserve.”