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

Philonese Floyd, brother of George Floyd, addresses the press outside of the Hennepin County Government Center immediately after Derek Chauvin’s sentencing.
Credit...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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