George Floyd's Family Wanted a Longer Sentence for Derek Chauvin

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U.S.|George Floyd’s relatives wanted a longer sentence for Derek Chauvin but rejoiced nonetheless.

June 25, 2021, 5:54 p.m. ET

June 25, 2021, 5:54 p.m. ET




Floyd Family Reacts to Derek Chauvin Sentencing

The family of George Floyd said the 22½-year sentence for the former police officer was not long enough but celebrated what they viewed as partial accountability.

“I have a family, we wake up every day, and we don’t see my brother. Empty seats all around the house he would have been in. The fact that Gianna will grow up knowing that her father had made a difference in the world, but the fact that she cannot have a Sweet 16, she cannot have him walk her down the aisle. She will not be able to have prom with the daddy dance.” “When you think about George being murdered in cold blood, with a knee on his neck for 9 minutes and 29 seconds, execution style, in broad daylight, 22 1/2 years is not enough. We were served a life sentence. We can’t get George back. Gianna can’t hug George again. So in retrospect, I feel that he should have received a life sentence as well. What kind of message are you sending to our country? What kind message are you sending to the younger kids like Gianna? That you can kill a man in cold blood and get a slap on the wrist. That’s like a slap in the face to all of us standing up here and everybody around the world who feel what we feel and saw that video. So I won’t celebrate this. I won’t celebrate it at all. But I will celebrate a guilty conviction on a police officer who killed a Black man, because far too many times we see them kill us and get right away with it.” “This right here is the 22-year sentence they gave this man. It’s a slap on the wrist. We’ve suffered a life sentence of not having him in our life, and that hurts me to death.” “Maximum accountability for George Floyd. Maximum accountability, for George Floyd. Maximum accountability, for George.Floyd.”

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The family of George Floyd said the 22½-year sentence for the former police officer was not long enough but celebrated what they viewed as partial accountability.CreditCredit...Aaron Nesheim for The New York Times

Relatives of George Floyd said on Friday that Derek Chauvin’s prison sentence of 22 and a half years was not long enough, but that they were grateful he would face a measure of accountability after being convicted of murdering Mr. Floyd.

Standing outside the government building in downtown Minneapolis where Mr. Chauvin was sentenced, members of the Floyd family said they hoped Mr. Chauvin would receive additional years in prison if he were to be convicted of the federal civil rights charges that he also faces in Mr. Floyd’s death.

“Twenty two and a half years is not enough,” said Brandon Williams, a nephew of Mr. Floyd. “We were served a life sentence. We can’t get George back.”

Shareeduh Tate, a cousin of Mr. Floyd, said she had wanted Mr. Chauvin to serve the maximum sentence allowed by law — 40 years — and that she hoped the federal charges could bring a life sentence.

“Truth be told, I don’t think any sentence would be enough, because what truly would be justice would be for us to be able to have George back,” Ms. Tate said, surrounded by lawyers, relatives and other supporters. “We didn’t get what we wanted.”

Rodney Floyd, Mr. Floyd’s younger brother, called the sentence a “slap on the wrist.”

Still, relatives and other supporters said it was a sign of progress that Mr. Chauvin, a white police officer, had received a significant sentence after being convicted of killing a Black man while on duty. They said it was vital for activists to continue pressuring lawmakers, prosecutors and others for reform.

“All the energy we had in this courtroom, we have to take to Capitol Hill,” said Ben Crump, a lawyer for the Floyd family, urging the passage of a police reform bill now in the Senate that was named after Mr. Floyd.

The Rev. Al Sharpton said the sentence had been longer than some supporters of Mr. Floyd had expected — a sign, he said, that their expectations had been lowered by other cases in which police officers have received lighter sentences.

“We got more than we thought only because we have been disappointed so many times before,” Mr. Sharpton said.

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