The Rev Al Sharpton has condemned Derek Chauvin’s 22-and-a-half year sentence for the murder of George Floyd saying that he should have received the maximum.
Sharpton made the remarks in front of about one hundred people who gathered outside the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis on Friday afternoon to hear the sentence come down.
There was an intense reaction from the crowd who chanted ‘Black Lives Matter’ while holding placards and waving flags.
Some cursed in disgust and could be heard shouting ‘Bulls***!’, unhappy at the 22½ year sentence, of which Chauvin is likely to serve about 15 years.
The punishment – which fell short of the 30 years prosecutors had requested – came after Chauvin broke his more than yearlong silence in court to offer condolences to the Floyd family. He also said more information will be coming out and he hopes the family will eventually have ‘some peace of mind.’
With good behavior, Chauvin, 45, could get out on parole after serving two-thirds of his sentence.
Speaking outside the court, Sharpton acknowledged that Chauvin’s is the longest sentence ever handed to a police officer in Minnesota but said: ‘Justice would have been the maximum.’
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Reverend Al Sharpton, surrounded by relatives of George Floyd, talks to the media after the sentencing
People react as they listen to the sentencing hearing of former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin outside the Hennepin County Government Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota
Former policeman Derek Chauvin was sentenced to 22-and-a-half years in jail Friday for murdering African American George Floyd
Lawyer Ben Crump, sorrounded by members of George Floyd’s family, talks to the media after the sentencing
People surround civil rights lawyer and lead attorney for the George Floyd family, Benjamin Crump (C-R), and Reverend Al Sharpton (C-L) as well as Floyd family members, after the sentencing of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin
Attorney Ben Crump hugs Reverend Al Sharpton at the sentencing of former police officer Derek Chauvin
‘This verdict and this sentencing is the longest sentence we’ve seen, but it is not justice, because George Floyd is in a grave tonight, even though Chauvin will be in jail. So let us not feel that we’re here to celebrate, because justice would have been George Floyd never have been killed. Justice would have been the maximum,’ Sharpton began.
‘We got more than we thought. Only because we have been disappointed so many times before. 22.5 years is longer than we’ve ever gotten, but shorter than what we should have gotten in the past. Let us remember, a man lost his life.
‘This is not a prayer of celebration, it’s a prayer to thank God for giving the strength of this family and those activists that stayed in the streets to make sure this court had to do what was right. Let me repeat, for those in the back, because those are the ones that marched, that this is the longest sentence they’ve ever given, but it is not justice. Justice is George Floyd would be alive.
Sharpton then joined the Floyd family in prayer.
‘We ask you to give this family strength and give them grace. And you have brought us now to the end of this particular proceeding. They will say it is more time than any time in history, but we will say that history has been long underserving its citizens. And we humbly thank you for giving this family the strength to stand where other families didn’t even get a court date.
‘We remember Erik garner today. We remember Michael Brown. We remember Jacob Blake, who is still with us. We remember Tamir Rice on his birthday. We remember Breonna Taylor.’
Bishop Harding Smith reacts outside Hennepin County Government Center after the sentence on former police officer Derek Chauvin who was sentenced for murdering George Floyd, in Minneapolis, Minnesota
People gather to hear the Derek Chauvin sentencing in Minneapolis
A person reacts outside Hennepin County Government Center after the sentencing on former police officer Derek Chauvin
People gather to hear the Derek Chauvin sentencing and hug one another after the news broke
Derek Chauvin was convicted of murder and manslaughter on April 20 in the death of African-American George Floyd in a case that roiled the United States for almost a year, laying bare deep racial divisions
Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin addresses his sentencing hearing and the judge as he awaits his sentenceon Friday
People gather outside the Hennepin County Government Center and watch a live stream of the sentencing hearing for Derek Chauvin
Floyd family attorney Ben Crump also gave his thoughts on the sentencing saying the family had gotten ‘some measure of accountability’ but is hoping Chauvin gets the maximum at his upcoming federal civil rights trial.
Crump noted that it was the longest sentence a police officer has ever received in Minnesota.
‘Today represents a opportunity to be a turning point in America. This is the longest sentence that a police officer has ever been sentenced to in the history of the state of Minnesota. But this should not be the exception when a black person is killed by brutality by police. It should be the norm,’ Crump said.
‘And so when we think about real justice, real justice would be that George Floyd would still be here with his family. So what we got today was some measure of accountability, and we understand that there are still federal charges pending. So as his brothers and his family asks for the maximum, we’re still holding up for the maximum.
‘We have to remember, real justice in America will be black men and black women and people of color will not have to fear being killed by the police just because the color of their skin. That would be real justice. So we thank most of all the millions of Americans who raised their voice.
‘You all raised your voices, and because you raised your voices, that is why we got the guilty conviction, and that is why we got the longest sentence in the state of Minnesota history. So on behalf of the Floyd family, we want to say thank you to millions of Americans who all said, until we get justice for George Floyd, until we get accountability for George Floyd, none of us can breathe. We can breathe just a little easier today. And we thank you for that.’
Crump later roused the crown with a chant: ‘Maximum accountability for George Floyd! Maximum accountability for George Floyd!’
‘Maximum accountability for George Floyd! Maximum accountability for George Floyd!’ lawyer Ben Crump chanted
Relatives of George Floyd and other members of African American community talk to journalists during a rally outside Hennepin County District Court
‘Today represents a opportunity to be a turning point in America. This is the longest sentence that a police officer has ever been sentenced to in the history of the state of Minnesota. But this should not be the exception when a black person is killed by brutality by police. It should be the norm,’ said attorney Ben Crump
”We have to remember, real justice in America will be black men and black women and people of color will not have to fear being killed by the police just because the color of their skin. That would be real justice. So we thank most of all the millions of Americans who raised their voice,’ added Crump
The Rev. Al Sharpton, center, leads George Floyd family members in prayer at a news conference after the sentencing
Justin Blake (L), uncle of Jacob Blake, stands outside the Hennepin County Government Center and listens to a live stream of the sentencing
Reverend Al Sharpton speaks outside of the Hennepin County Government Center for the sentencing of former police officer Derek Chauvin
Reverend Al Sharpton and Attorney Ben Crump hold a prayer with members of George Floyd’s family
Jennifer Starr Dodd, 37, streamed the proceedings from her phone as a large group of people watched over her shoulder. Members of the crowd broke into applause, and several said, ‘We´ll take it.’
Starr Dodd was grateful the sentence was not the ‘slap on the wrist’ she feared.
‘There´s going to be more George Floyds, there´s going to be more Trayvon Martins, there´s going to be more Daunte Wrights, unfortunately,’ she said, referring to other black people who died on the streets. ‘But I have hope now that they can get the consequences that they deserve for doing their missteps in their actions.’
In imposing the punishment, Judge Peter Cahill went beyond the 12 1/2-year sentence prescribed under state guidelines, citing ‘your abuse of a position of trust and authority and also the particular cruelty’ shown to Floyd.
Following Chauvin’s sentencing, he was immediately led back to prison. As with the verdicts in April, he showed little emotion when the judge pronounced the sentence. His eyes moved rapidly around the courtroom, his COVID-19 mask obscuring much of his face.
The fired white officer was convicted of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter for pressing his knee against Floyd’s neck for up to 9 ½ minutes as the 46-year-old Black man gasped that he couldn’t breathe and went limp on May 25, 2020.
Bystander video of Floyd’s arrest on suspicion of passing a counterfeit $20 bill at a corner store prompted protests around the world and led to scattered violence in Minneapolis and beyond, as well as demands for overhauling policing and discipline.
On Friday, Chauvin, who did not testify at his trial, removed his mask and turned toward the Floyd family, speaking only briefly because of he called ‘some additional legal matters at hand’ – an apparent reference to the federal civil rights trial, where his words could be used against him.
‘I do want to give my condolences to the Floyd family. There’s going to be some other information in the future that would be of interest. And I hope things will give you some some peace of mind,’ he said, without further explanation.
People gather to watch court proceedings outside of the Hennepin County Government Center
The former Minneapolis Police officer was sentenced on Friday after being convicted of murder in the death of George Floyd, pictured on the back of a jacket
Attorney Ben Crump is pictured walking into the Hennepin County Government Center before the sentencing began
gather outside the Hennepin County Government Center and listen to victim impact statements during the sentencing
People gather outside the Hennepin County Government Center and listen to victim impact statements
People wait outside Hennepin County Government Center ahead of a sentence being pronounced on Derek Chauvin
People wait outside Hennepin County Government Center ahead of the sentence being pronounced
A person listens to live stream outside Hennepin County Government Center ahead of the sentence being pronounced
People wait outside Hennepin County Government Center ahead of a sentence coming out
Emotions ran high outside the courthouse as those gathered waited for news
Hundreds of people gathered outside the courthouse in Minneapolis as they waited for news on Friday afternoon
People react after learning of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin’s sentencing outside the Hennepin County Government Center
People watch the sentencing hearing of former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin with family members delivering impact statements
People react as they watch the sentencing hearing on their cellphones on the lawn outside the courthouse
People watch the sentencing hearing of former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin outside the Hennepin County Government Center
A person holds a portrait of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota
People waiting outside were glued to their cellphones as the sentencing was announced