Former U.S. police officer Derek Chauvin was sentenced on Friday to 270 months, or 22.5 years, in prison, for the murder of African American George Floyd in May 2020 by kneeling on his neck for more than nine minutes in Minneapolis, Minnesota state.
Chauvin, 45, “is the first white officer in Minnesota to face prison time for the killing of a black man,” according to Minnesota Public Radio.
Many local residents and civil rights representatives gathered outside the Hennepin County Government Center on Friday to await the sentencing.
Many of them said the sentence for the former police officer is far from enough to bring justice back to people’s life.
“I think anything under this current prison industrial complex is not gonna feel like justice.This system can not serve justice to our communities. It’s infuriating and we keep looking to the same system that kills people to deliver justice and this system will never deliver justice. It can’t,” said Angela, a local resident.
“We have to change the entire system. And people right now need to be furious and they need to grieve. And we also need to create a vision of what else it could be, because this is never going to work for us,” she said.
Chauvin was convicted of second-degree murder and manslaughter as well as third-degree murder by a jury in April. Prosecutors had asked for a 30-year sentence.
Under state guidelines, the maximum sentence for unintentional murder in the second degree is 40 years. Since Chauvin has no previous criminal record, the presumptive sentence is 12.5 years, with an acceptable deviation range of 10.67 years to 15 years.
“Well, 22 years is still a long sentence for someone who lived a privileged life. It’s going to be very, very devastating for a police officer to go to prison. So I think it’s good news, the first step on the path to justice. Officers to prison like Chauvin is going, that’s a victory. We have to take one step at a time. One step at a time, but a good step today,” said Ali, a civil rights representative in Minneapolis.