Chauvin, the agent who killed George Floyd, was sentenced to 22 and a half years in prison, in a sentence that leaves many disappointed and embittered because they believe her too weak. Floyd’s family and lawyers had asked for the maximum sentence, which is 30 years in prison.
Chauvin’s lawyers had first tried the path of probation, then gave up and demanded a light sentence “based on the law”. Judge Peter Cahill, before ruling, clarified that he had decided “not in the wake of emotions and sympathy but on facts. My decision is accompanied by a 22-page memorandum that explains it and is not intended to be a message to anyone”, he added. Chauvin, present in the courtroom after two months spent in solitary confinement, remained undeterred. Light gray jacket and tie, his face was covered with a mask for most of the hearing. He removed her just to talk: after being silent for all six weeks of the trial, the former agent took the floor briefly and addressed Floyd’s family.
Before him, his mother, Carolyn Pawlenty, had approached the judge and the public. “They described him as aggressive, careless and racist. But I want to tell you that he is not: he is a good person,” Pawlenty said. The woman then turned in tears directly to her son: “Derek I always believed in your innocence. You are my favorite son.” Floyd’s family also turned to Judge Cahill, starting with the seven-year-old daughter Gianna, connected via video. To those who asked her what she would say to her father, the child replied: “I would tell him that I miss him and that I love him”.
Dozens of people awaited the sentence outside the Minneapolis courthouse, waving a photo of George Floyd and yelling at the top of their lungs for Black Lives Matter.
“We’re not looking for revenge, we’re just looking at the gravity of what happened,” Minnesota attorney Keith Ellison said before the sentencing. The reference is to the shock video that documented the last nine minutes of Floyd’s life on May 5, 2020 and that went around the world, pushing thousands of people to the streets in the United States to demonstrate against the violent and racist police. Protests that sent the then President Donald Trump into a rage, convinced that a hard fist should be used against the demonstrators. “We should break their heads, this is how we should treat them. Shoot them,” the tycoon said during the hot days of the summer of 2020, pressing for military intervention. The sentence closes a case that has shaken the America but disappoints all those who wanted what – in their opinion – would have been an exemplary sentence, or the maximum penalty for a violent and unjustified act. The bitterness is evident outside the courtroom and contrasts with the shout of joy that followed the jury’s guilty verdict. the battle of Black Lives Matter – the protesters assure – goes on, this is only the beginning.
“I am not aware of all the circumstances that have been considered but” the ruling “seems appropriate,” said President Joe Biden.