SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Activists in Utah expressed mixed feelings Friday after the former Minneapolis police officer convicted of killing George Floyd was sentenced.
Derek Chauvin was sentenced to 22 and a half years in prison — 10 years more than minimum sentencing guidelines would mandate in Minnesota — but not the 30-year maximum sentence he could have faced.
Some of Floyd’s family members said it wasn’t enough, that it was a “slap on the wrist.”
Others expressed a sense that the sentencing provided a tangible step forward and is a sign of progress.
But Lex Scott with Black Lives Matter Utah says she rejects the idea that Chauvin’s sentencing sends a message to police about accountability.
“We can’t just pin all our hopes and dreams on the Derek Chauvin case,” said Scott.
“That other police officers will try not to hurt us. We’ve seen too many officer-involved shootings in 2021 and 2020. And we know that one case does not sway the entire nation,” added Scott.
Utah activist and author Darlene McDonald calls the sentencing “step one” — not justice, necessarily, but progress.
“As long as the family feel that they can have some closure with the sentencing today, I believe that it is our responsibility to respect that. And I personally feel like it was a good sentence,” said McDonald.
“We still have to bring awareness for the need for law enforcement reform.”