CLEVELAND — The Cleveland NAACP president believes the outcome of the Derek Chauvin case gives activists precedent to demand justice in cases of police abuse and brutality against Black people.
The former Minneapolis police officer will spend the next 22.5 years in prison.
“I think that the sentencing of 22-and-a-half-years is likely what we expected from the criminal justice system,” said Danielle Sydnor, the president of the Cleveland branch of the NAACP. “However, acknowledging that many young people, people of color, go to prison for nonviolent offenses and have longer sentencing is just something that demonstrates while there is justice to some extent in this case, we still have to really have discussions around an overhaul of reform in policing and in criminal justice, period.”
Chauvin was convicted of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter in April for the death George Floyd. Floyd’s death last May sparked countless protests and conversations about police brutality against Black people in the U.S.
Friday, the judge listened as members of Floyd's family, including his 7-year-old daughter Gianna, gave victim impact statements and asked him to hand down the maximum sentence to Chauvin, which would have been 40 years in prison.
Chauvin's mother also addressed the court asking for leniency.
After a brief recess, the judge sentenced Chauvin to 270 months in prison, or 22 years and six months.
The judge added 10 years to the presumptive sentence of 12.5 for aggravating factors in the case, including abuse of power.
Sydnor believes the outcome of this case gives activists precedent to demand justice in cases of police abuse and brutality against Black people.
“We have more trials for individuals that have committed crimes against the Black community. We have more police that need to be held to account for their actions. And so I hope that they use this judge's rationale as a part of the basis for making sure that these families that are grieving, that will never get their loved ones back, actually get some semblance of justice,” said Sydnor.
Sydnor said she looks forward to reading the judge's sentencing order which details his decision.
“I'm really interested in how he arrived at his decision and using it as a basis to ensure that the other officers that are due to stand trial in the next few years, even in Minneapolis, the other officers that participated and stood by and didn't intervene, that that will be used as a basis as they're trying their case as well,” said Sydnor.
Chauvin is expected to appeal his conviction.
Three other officers who were on scene with Chauvin and assisted in Floyd's arrest will stand trial next year.
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