Derek Chauvin’s 22.5-year prison sentence draws mixed reactions in Mid-Michigan

Published: Jun. 25, 2021 at 6:55 PM EDT
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MID-MICHIGAN (WJRT) - Community activists and leaders in Mid-Michigan reacted to Derek Chauvin’s sentence for the death of George Floyd with a mix of surprise and agreement.

Flint attorney and community activist Cha’ris Lee was surprised by the judge’s 22.5-year prison sentence for Chauvin.

“I didn’t expect him to -- I mean, being a former police officer, to my knowledge -- not really having any complaints against him prior to this particular incident. I didn’t expect for the sentence to be 22.5 years,” she said.

Members of George Floyd’s family pushed for a maximum sentencing, which would have been 40 years, during Friday’s victim impact statements. The prosecution pushed for 30 years while the minimum sentence guideline was 12.5 years.

Lee believes justice was served with the 22.5-year sentence.

“The purpose of prison is rehabilitation and also to right a wrong, and in this case we can’t bring back George Floyd, but the person who is responsible for his death can pay a penalty for that, which is time,” she said.

For Johnnie Franklin III, vice president of the Flint Black Lives Matter chapter, called Chauvin’s sentence disproportionate. Franklin’s group sprang to live and its impact was felt around the world in the days following Floyd’s death.

“Not enough. It should be more,” Franklin said. “It’s unfair. It’s unjust.”

Franklin called it a slap in the face and a gut punch for Black people across the country.

For Flint community activist and pastor Chris Martin, Friday’s sentencing also was a disappointment.

“I don’t think that 22.5 years with serving a mandatory 15 does the Floyd family total justice,” he said. “I thought maybe a sentence around 30 years would be a little more meaningful to the family.”

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