Chauvin sentencing sparks call for more reform among San Diegans

SAN DIEGO – Friday’s sentencing in the murder trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin has sparked more calls for police reform among San Diego activists.

In a Minneapolis courtroom, Judge Peter Cahill sentenced Chauvin to 22 1/2 years in prison for the murder of George Floyd. Chauvin was convicted in April of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. He was facing as much as 40 years in prison for Floyd’s killing.

At La Mesa-based barbershop Studio Cutz, owner Aydraus Sakawe said Floyd’s name comes up often. He says opinions in the shop on the Chauvin case were clear to anybody who walked through the door.

“Whether you’re Black, whether you’re Hispanic, whether you’re Caucasian, it doesn’t really matter,” Sakawe said. “People will always look at it like it’s wrong.”

Cahill said the sentencing was based on Chauvin’s “abuse of a position of trust and authority and also the particular cruelty shown to George Floyd.” Floyd’s family was awarded $27 million in a wrongful death settlement from the city.

Local activist Shane Harris said Chauvin should be a cautionary tale for other cities.

“The most expensive officer in the United States,” Harris said. “So, there is a sense of relief and there is a sense of urgency. Urgency for the passage of the George Floyd Justice In Policing Act of 2021.”

Harris, who has been close with the Floyd family, said they were relieved but not necessarily satisfied with the 22 1/2 years prison sentence.

“He’s got 22 1/2,” Harris said. “He’s got no probation and he’s got no hang time in any other space, so he’s going to have to go through 22 1/2 years behind bars and he’ll have to think about what he did.”

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