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Minneapolis Reacts To Chauvin Sentence With Fury And Hope

Jennifer Starr Dodd, center, and other supporters react to the sentencing of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd, Friday, at George Floyd Square in Minneapolis. Chauvin was sentenced to 22 1/2 years in prison.
Jennifer Starr Dodd, center, and other supporters react to the sentencing of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd, Friday, at George Floyd Square in Minneapolis. Chauvin was sentenced to 22 1/2 years in prison.

As Derek Chauvin's 22 1/2-year prison sentence for the murder of George Floyd was announced to a crowd gathered outside the Minneapolis courthouse, people processed the news with mixed reactions.

There was subdued debate following the proceedings that people streamed on cell phones, but those more vocal took in the news like a gut punch.

Immediate cries of "Is that it," "That's not justice" and profanities rang out from furious protesters who hoped to see the former police officer get more time behind bars.

Chauvin's sentence for second-degree murder, which Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill said includes the 199 days that Chauvin has already served, exceeds Minnesota's minimum guidelines by about 10 years, but falls short of the 30-year sentence sought by prosecutors.

State Attorney General Keith Ellison said Chauvin's sentence "is one of the longest a former police officer has ever received for an unlawful use of deadly force."

Chauvin, who is white, was convicted in April of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter for killing Floyd by pressing his knee onto Floyd's neck for more than 9 minutes as the Black man lay on the pavement face-down while handcuffed.

Floyd's killing, captured on video, incited protests across the country against police brutality and racial injustice.

Though it's highly rare for a police officer to be convicted and handed such a heavy sentence for killing a person while on duty, many were disappointed.

"Just because it's the most time doesn't mean it's enough time," said local protest leader Nekima Levy Armstrong.

Others considered a 20-plus year sentence a hopeful precedent in the ongoing fight to hold law enforcement accountable.

At George Floyd Square, as the intersection where Floyd was killed is now known, Jennifer Starr Dodd, joined a crowd watching the proceedings on a live stream broke into applause at the sentence.

"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," Dodd 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."

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