BROOKLYN — After the historic sentencing of former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin Friday, a community marked the heavy occasion at a Flatbush memorial that had been vandalized just a day before.
Chauvin, convicted in the death of George Floyd, was sentenced to 270 months — or 22.5 years — in prison for second-degree murder.
Judge Peter Cahill could have put Chauvin behind bars for as many as 40 years. Minnesota Assistant Attorney General Matthew Frank asked the judge for 30 years. Some praised the sentence, others thought it wasn’t enough.
In Brooklyn, a bust of Floyd was the gathering place for New Yorkers to come together for the historic moment, a sentencing for Chauvin but a symbolic moment for the nation regarding race, criminal justice and police brutality.
But early Thursday morning, that memorial had been vandalized by apparent white nationalists; Gov. Andrew Cuomo referred to them as “neo-Nazis.”
Another similar statue was vandalized in Newark, seemingly by a related group.
Chauvin was convicted in April of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. The second-degree murder count, the most serious charge, carries up to 40 years in prison.
Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, was declared dead after Chauvin, who is white, pressed his knee against his neck for about nine minutes on May 25. Floyd was arrested on suspicion of using a fake $20 bill to buy cigarettes at a convenience store. His death sparked protests and civil unrest in Minneapolis and across the U.S. over police brutality, at points turning violent.
Chauvin spoke briefly, saying the other charges he’s facing prohibited him from going into detail.
“I’m not able to give a full formal statement at this time,” he said. “Very briefly though, I do want to give my condolences to the Floyd family. There’s going to be some other information in the future that would be of interest. I hope things will give you some peace of mind.”
Preview image from June 19, 2021, when the statue was unveiled (Photo by ED JONES/AFP via Getty Images).
With contributions from Bobby Oler, Sydney Kalich, Tom Neogovan, Greg Mocker, Mary Murphy and Corey Crockett.