Derek Chauvin’s sentencing brings US ‘one step closer to healing’, Floyd family attorney says as world reacts

Others have branded Derek Chauvin’s sentence ‘disappointing’

Chantal Da Silva
Friday 25 June 2021 22:08
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<p>A mural painted by artist Kenny Altidor depicting George Floyd is unveiled on a sidewall of CTown Supermarket on 13 July, 2020 in the Brooklyn borough New York City.  Derek Chauvin has been sentenced to 22.5 years for Mr Floyd’s death.</p>

A mural painted by artist Kenny Altidor depicting George Floyd is unveiled on a sidewall of CTown Supermarket on 13 July, 2020 in the Brooklyn borough New York City. Derek Chauvin has been sentenced to 22.5 years for Mr Floyd’s death.

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Derek Chauvin’s sentencing on Friday in the murder of George Floyd brings the US “one step closer to healing”, Ben Crump, the lawyer representing the Floyd family, has said.

Chauvin was sentenced to 22 years and six months in prison on Friday. The sentence is 10 years above the 12.5-year guideline for second-degree unintentional murder, due to aggravating factors.

“22.5 YEARS!” Mr Crump wrote in a tweet, responding to the sentencing.

“This historic sentence brings the Floyd family and our nation one step closer to healing by delivering closure and accountability,” he said.

Mr Crump also issued a statement that he said was issued with the Floyd family.

"For once, a police officer who wrongly took the life of a Black man was held to account," the statement said. "While this shouldn't be exceptional, tragically it is.”

"Day after day, year after year, police kill Black people without any consequence. But today, with Chauvin's sentence, we take a significant step forward – something that was unimaginable a very short time ago.”

Asked about the verdict, President Joe Biden said he did not “know all the circumstances that were considered”.

However, he said of Chauvin’s sentencing: “Under the guidelines, that seems to be appropriate”.

While for some, Friday’s sentencing appeared to seem fitting, others were disappointed by Chauvin’s sentencing.

Addressing a crowd following the sentencing, Rev Al Sharpton said: “This is the longest sentence that they’ve ever given, but it is not justice.”

“Justice is George Floyd would be alive. Justice is that they would have been doing this,” he said.

“Had they done sentences like this before, maybe Chauvin would not have thought he would have gotten away from it,” Mr Sharpton said.

Martin Luther King III, the eldest son of Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King, shared in Mr Jones’ sentiments, asserting that Chauvin’s sentence “fell short of what true justice would look like for Mr Floyd and his family”.

“Full Accountability is key to creating an unbiased justice system,” he said in a statement on Twitter.

In a short tweet, political commentator Van Jones summed up his response, writing: “Very disappointing,” before adding the “#ChauvinSentencing” hashtag.

Noting Chauvin’s sentence and the fact that he “can never own firearms again [and] must register as a predatory offender upon release”, writer Roxane Gay said: “George Floyd is still dead”.

New York City public defender Eliza Orlins also appeared to lament the sentence handed to Chauvin, writing: “As a public defender, I represented a man who was facing life in prison for stealing a jacket”.

The American Civil Liberties Union said it would take “more than a single sentence” to bring about “true justice” in the US.

“The systems that allowed Derek Chauvin to murder George Floyd largely remain intact today,” the ACLU said in a tweet.

“We need much more than a single sentence for a single officer when more than a thousand deaths came at the hands of police last year. True justice demands change,” the organisation said.

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