Column: Chauvin’s sentence falls short of expectations


In this image taken from video, defense attorney Eric Nelson, left, and defendant former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, right, and Nelson’s assistant Amy Voss, back, introduce themselves to potential jurors as Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill presides, prior to continuing jury selection, Monday, March 15, 2021, in the trial of Chauvin, at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis, Minn. Chauvin is charged in the May 25, 2020, death of George Floyd. (Court TV, Pool via AP)

The Black Commentator applauds the 22½ year sentence of former officer Derek Chauvin for the May 25, 2020 murder of George Floyd, a Black man, in Minneapolis. Chauvin, who had placed his knee on Floyd’s neck for 9 minutes and 29 seconds, is one of only a handful of police officers ever to face punishment behind prison walls for the taking of a life.

While the Chauvin conviction is a victory for justice to some degree, it is but one case in a sea of brutality, corruption and systemic racism. Further, the family of Mr. Floyd has lost their loved one, never to return, and Gianna Floyd will never see her father again.

We must be vigilant and ensure that the conviction of Derek Chauvin is not a one-time event designed to quell the public so the system can return to business as usual, that business being the brutalization of Black and Brown bodies and the exploitation of the poor for the sake of white supremacy. Until society comes to terms with the slave plantation origins of U.S. law enforcement and moves to reform, defund or abolish it, nothing will change.

Chauvin, a repeat offender, was not merely one of a few rotten apples, but rather thrived in a rotten orchard that enabled his sociopathy. Unlike his victim George Floyd, who cried for his mother as he took his last breath, Chauvin will see his mother again – a woman who said her son is a “good man,” “honorable and selfless,” and said she always believed he was innocent. America, a nation that continues to lynch Black people, still believes in the criminalization of the Black community and the devaluation of Black life. While the murder of George Floyd erupted a racial awakening across the country and the world, the conviction and sentencing of Derek Chauvin is only the beginning on the long road to justice.