On Friday 25th of June, Judge Peter Cahill, sentenced Derek Chauvin to 22 and a half years in prison. A fraction of closure has been provided to a case that shook not only the nation, but the world. Judge Cahil explained his rational in sentencing Chauvin in a 22-page memorandum. Outlining four aggravating factors which Chauvin carried out, of which two resulted in a longer sentencing. Under different circumstances, usually in Minnesota an individual with no prior offenses when convicted of second degree murder, would serve 12 years. 

The hearing constituted of emotional testimonies from George Floyd’s brothers and daughter. Along with Chauvins’ mother, Carolyn Pawlenty. Terrence Floyd addressed the court and asked “Why? Wat were you thinking? What was going through your head when you had your knee on my brother’s neck? When you knew he posed no threat any more, he was handcuffed, why you didn’t at least get up? Why you stayed there” he then adds “We don’t want to see no more slaps on the wrist, we’ve been through that already”.

Without even addressing Floyd’s family, Mrs. Pawlenty exclaimed that her sons identity had been taken over by racist claims, and that she believed none of this was true. She stated “I want this court to know that none of these things are true and that my son is a good man”. Delusional words. If a Black man in America can be reduced to his skin color and a dangerous criminal when being suspected of committing a petty crime, then a White man who uses brute force to ‘subdue’ an innocent Black man and ends up murdering him, can be entirely reduced to a racist. Only difference between the two here is that the former is incorrect, and the latter is all too real. 

This may be another slap on wrist as Chauvin is 45 and will be released nearing 58 years of age, and that’s only if he serves out his entire sentence, as he could only serve 15 with parole. We certainly have a long way to go, and Chauvin should have received maximum sentencing in accounts of all of the aggravating factors, as well as his blatant lack of remorse or guilt. During his sentencing, Chauvin addressed Floyd’s family briefly offering them his condolences and then said this “There’s going to be some other information in the future that would be of interest, and I hope things will give you some peace of mind”. Why are we not surprised, a White man, who has just been sentenced to 22 and half years in prison, charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and manslaughter, still holds hope. 

Are we going to deny that if the roles had been reversed, things would have happened, in a much faster, and very different way. Are we going to deny that a Black man in America with this type of sentencing would have carried it out to its maximum penalty and wouldn’t have been issued parole. Are we going to deny that a Black man wouldn’t have hope in ‘other information arising’ that could potentially impact his sentencing in a positive way. 

Once again, this is a microscopic step in the right direction. Although it was the best outcome we could have expected for the state of our America today, it still remains far from being what America needs. Let this case remind you, that this is America, for the patriots out there who wave their flag proudly and deny the presence of systemic racism in all its facets, real patriotism is about recognizing our shortcomings and working towards righting our wrongs. I recommend you lower your flag and keep your pride to yourself, as there is nothing to be proud about America today.

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