President Biden on Friday said the 22 1/2-year sentence for ex-Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin “seems to be appropriate” for the murder of George Floyd, despite it being less than the maximum.
Minnesota law allowed for 40 years in prison for the 45-year-old Chauvin. Prosecutors and Floyd’s family had sought 30 years.
Chauvin kneeled on Floyd’s neck for nearly 9 minutes, killing him last May and sparking national anti-police brutality protests and riots. Floyd was suspected of attempting to use a fake $20 bill.
“I don’t know all the circumstances that were considered but it seems to me, under the guidelines, that seems to be appropriate,” Biden said at the White House after Chavuin was sentenced.
But protesters and some of Floyd’s family members said they weren’t satisfied.
Brandon Williams, Floyd’s nephew, slammed the sentence as a “slap on the wrist” in the case that propelled the Black Lives Matter movement due to the apparent callousness of Chauvin’s killing of Floyd, who was black.
“It’s funny that we got justice but not enough justice … 22 years is not enough,” Williams said after the court hearing.
“We were served a life sentence, we can’t get George back… I feel he should have received a life sentence as well.”
Williams said the sentence sends the message that “you can kill a man and get a slap on the wrist. So I won’t celebrate this, I won’t celebrate this at all.”
But a top attorney for the Floyd family, Ben Crump, tried to frame the penalty as a success.
“22.5 YEARS! This historic sentence brings the Floyd family and our nation one step closer to healing by delivering closure and accountability,” Crump tweeted.
Minnesota abolished the death penalty, taking that penalty off the table.
Outside the courthouse, some protesters said they were angry about Chauvin’s punishment, calling for the judge to give the maximum of 40 years.
“That sh-t ain’t right man. Twenty-two and a half years? I’ve lost sleep over this man, I cried over this man. This is reality,” protester Michael Smith said.
“This ain’t justice… That is so far from unacceptable. He murdered someone.”