State Watch

Floyd’s brother says Chauvin sentence was ‘slap on the wrist’

One of George Floyd’s brothers, Philonise Floyd, said Friday that the 22 1/2-year sentence issued for former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin amounted to a “slap on the wrist,” but added that people should appreciate that the man charged with murdering his brother got “some time.” 

In an interview with MSNBC’s Joy Reid, Philonise Floyd, who was joined by civil rights attorney Ben Crump, expressed gratitude for the sentence against Chauvin, though he said the judge should have granted the prosecutors’ request for a 30-year sentence. 

“My brother, he’s dead, I will never get to see him again,” he said. “We will always have empty seats at the house that he should be sitting in. That was our loved one, we cherished him. No matter how anybody else felt about him, we loved him.” 

Philonese Floyd added that the now-viral video of the moments leading up to his brother’s death last May “clearly showed that he had his knee on my brother’s neck for nine minutes and 29 seconds.” 

“Consequences, they vary, but for us just to get some time, even though it was a slap on the wrist, we still have to appreciate, because we didn’t have to get anything,” he added. 

Hennepin County District Court Judge Peter Cahill handed down the sentence against Chauvin on Friday. The former police officer was convicted in April of second-degree murder and manslaughter as well as third-degree murder. 

Some experts had predicted a much shorter sentence for Chauvin, and Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison (D) on Friday acknowledged that the punishment was “one of the longest a former police officer has ever received for an unlawful use of deadly force.” 

Crump, who is representing the Floyd family, said in Friday’s MSNBC interview that the sentence “represents an opportunity for America to have a turning point,” noting that the punishment for Chauvin was the “longest conviction of a police officer in the history of the state of Minnesota.” 

However, Crump added, “our journey to justice will end” when “Black men and Black women and people of color don’t have to fear being killed by the police because of the color of their skin.” 

Friday’s sentence also reinvigorated calls for Congress to achieve full passage of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which would implement sweeping changes to how policing is carried out in the country. 

Philonise Floyd told Reid on Friday that the bill, which was passed by the House and is in the midst of bipartisan negotiations among lawmakers, has the “blood” of “so many different people” on it. 

“You have Breonna Taylor, you have Pamela Turner,” he continued, referring to two Black women whose deaths at the hands of police, along with others, have prompted national outrage and calls for an end to police brutality. 

“Every time I look at this bill, I don’t want to see a watered down bill,” he added. “I want to make sure that people feel comfortable going outside. We don’t have to worry about these no-knock warrants anymore. We don’t have to worry about chokeholds anymore.” 

The top negotiators on the bill, Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) and Sens. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.), announced Thursday that they had reached a bipartisan agreement on the legislation, though they said there was “still more work to be done on the final bill.”

Tags Chauvin sentencing Cory Booker George Floyd Justice in Policing Act Karen Bass Keith Ellison Minneapolis Minnesota MSNBC police brutality Police violence Tim Scott

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