MINNEAPOLIS — Relatives of George Floyd slammed the 22 1/2-year sentence imposed on former police officer Derek Chauvin Friday as a “slap on the wrist.”
During a news conference outside the Hennepin County courthouse, Floyd’s nephew Brandon Williams said that “22 years is not enough.”
“We were served a life sentence, we can’t get George back,” he said. “I feel [Chauvin] should have received a life sentence as well.”
Williams said it sends the wrong message that “you can kill a man in cold blood and get a slap on the wrist.”
“I won’t celebrate this,” he added, “but I will celebrate a guilty conviction on a police officer who killed a black man.”
Floyd’s younger brother Rodney Floyd also blasted the sentence.
“This right here, this 22-year sentence they gave this man, is a slap on the wrist. We’re serving a life sentence not having him in our lives. And that hurts me to death,” he said.
Chauvin, 45, had faced a maximum penalty of 40 years on the most serious charge, second-degree unintentional murder. Under the sentencing guidelines, he could potentially get out early on good behavior after serving two-thirds of his sentence, or just under 15 years. Prosecutors asked for 30 years.
Speaking outside the courthouse, the Rev. Al Sharpton said Chauvin’s punishment is “not justice because George Floyd is not alive.”
“One sentence does not solve a criminal justice problem,” he added.
Floyd family attorney Ben Crump thanked the legions of Americans who took to the streets in protest following Floyd’s murder last May.
“We can breathe just a little easier today and we thank you for that,” Crump said, adding, “We have now gotten some accountability on the criminal level.”
He also pointed out that there is still a chance Chauvin would face more prison time at his upcoming federal civil rights trial.
“The federal charges are still pending so I do believe … the maximum, it is still attainable to get maximum accountability for George Floyd,” he said.