CNN commentator Van Jones has suggested that the prison sentence Derek Chauvin received for the murder of George Floyd was “light.”
The former Minneapolis officer, who was filmed kneeling on Floyd’s neck last year, was sentenced to 22.5 years in prison on Friday.
However, according to The Associated Press, with good behavior, Chauvin "could be paroled after serving two-thirds of his sentence, or about 15 years."
It led CNN presenter Jones to express his expressed disappointment over the sentence, suggesting live on air that he was “very disappointed.”
“Fifteen years. I know people doing 15 years for nothing. For victimless crimes of drug possession,” he said.
“What this man did, it should’ve been the maximum of the maximum. This is disappointing. I don’t think it’s going to cause outrage. But it’s a punch in the gut.”
Jones, who had previously worked with the Trump administration on police reform, added that Chauvin deserved the maximum sentence.
“This guy’s life was worth more than 15 years. And what that officer did is worth more than 15 years.
“Law enforcement across the country should look at something like this and say, look, you can’t do this type of stuff, you’re never going to come back home.”
During his sentencing on Friday Judge Peter Cahill had insisted that the verdict was not based on "emotion or sympathy."
“At the same time I want to acknowledge the deep and tremendous pain that all the families are feeling, especially the Floyd family," he said.
Chauvin's sentence means that he is no longer permitted to carry firearms for the rest of his life and that he must register as a predatory offender.
On Friday Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison confirmed that the sentence was "one of the longest a former police officer has ever received" for use of deadly force, adding that this is "not justice, but it is another moment of real accountability on the road to justice."
President Biden also said that the sentence seemed "to be appropriate."
Chauvin was convicted of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in April for pressing his knee against Floyd’s neck for over nine minutes as he said "I can't breathe" and went limp.
The incident had sparked worldwide protests against police brutality and racial injustice sparking the Black Lives Matter Movement.
As the news of the sentencing verdict broke, people celebrated outside of the Cup Foods store, at the destination where Floyd was killed.
Floyd family attorney, Ben Crump, issued a statement following the result, saying: "This historic sentence brings the Floyd family and our nation one step closer to healing by delivering closure and accountability.
"For once, a police officer who wrongly took the life of a Black man was held to account. While this shouldn’t be exceptional, tragically it is."
However, relatives of George Floyd slammed the sentence imposed as a “slap on the wrist.”
During a news conference, Floyd’s nephew Brandon Williams said that “22 years is not enough."
“We were served a life sentence, we can’t get George back,” he added.
“I feel [Chauvin] should have received a life sentence as well,” according to the New York Post.
The deeply hurt young man suggested that letting Chauvin off without the full extent of hard time proves “you can kill a man in cold blood and get a slap on the wrist.”
“I won’t celebrate this,” Williams concluded, “but I will celebrate a guilty conviction on a police officer who killed a black man.”
Rodney Floyd, one of Floyd’s brothers echoed Williams.
Members of Floyd's family had also spoken in court, including his seven-year-old daughter, Gianna, who issued a statement in a pre-recorded video.
“I miss you and and I love you," she said.
Two of Floyd's brothers, Philonise and Terrence, also issued victim impact statements.
"My family and I have been given a life sentence. We will never be able to get George back," Philonise said, before pleading the judge to give Chauvin the maximum sentence.
Prosecutors had asked for 30 years, saying Chauvin’s actions were egregious and "shocked the nation’s conscience."
The defense requested probation, saying Chauvin was the product of a “broken” system and “believed he was doing his job.”
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