CNN political commentator Van Jones called it "a punch in the gut" that former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin had only been sentenced to 22 1/2 years in prison, and could possibly serve as few as 15, for the murder of George Floyd.
“Very disappointing, very disappointing. Fifteen years — I know people doing 15 years for nothing. I mean for victimless crimes of drugs possession,” Jones said Friday after the sentence was announced, arguing Chauvin should have received “the maximum of the maximum.”
The murder of Floyd in May 2020 was a galvanizing moment for the Black Lives Matter and police reform movements after video showed the since-fired officer kneeling on Floyd's neck for nearly 10 minutes during an arrest.
Chauvin was convicted of second-degree murder and manslaughter as well as third-degree murder in April.
“And this is disappointing," Jones said. "I don’t think it’s going to cause outrage. It’s a punch in the gut. This guy’s life is worth more than 15 years. It was, and what that officer did is worth more than 15 years. And law enforcement across the country look at something like this and say ‘Look, you can’t do this type of stuff, you’re never going to come back home.'"
Per state guidelines, the maximum sentence for unintentional murder in the second degree is 40 years, but because Chauvin has no previous criminal record, the presumptive sentence was 12 1/2 years, with an acceptable deviation range of 10 years, 9 months, to 15 years.