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The Lead with Jake Tapper
Derek Chauvin Sentenced to 22-1/2 Years for George Floyd's Murder. Aired 4-5p ET
Aired June 25, 2021 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: All right. Our coverage, of course, also will continue. The breaking news, Derek Chauvin, former Minneapolis police officer, has now been sentenced to 22-1/2 years for the murder of George Floyd.
Our coverage continues now with Jake Tapper.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.
And we start with the breaking news in our national lead. Just moments ago, we heard former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin's sentence to 22-1/2 years in prison for the second-degree murder of George Floyd in May 2020, announcing his sentence, the judge acknowledged the pain of the Floyd family and their struggles over the last year.
But he also said his sentence was based solely on legal facts, not on emotion, not on sympathy, not on public opinion. Prosecutors had asked for Chauvin to serve at least 30 years, while Chauvin's defense team argued that Chauvin should get probation or a lighter sentence. Chauvin, of course, was convicted on three charges in April, second degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter.
Chauvin, of course, kneeled on the neck of George Floyd for more than nine minutes while Floyd laid handcuffed in the street. George Floyd's tragic final moments were captured on cell phone video.
CNN's Sara Sidner is live for us in Minneapolis at George Floyd's Square. That's a memorial spot at the location of Floyd's death.
And, Sara, what was the reaction there as the sentence was announced, 270 months, 22-1/2 years?
SARA SIDNER, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah. Folks were chanting here George Floyd's name. This is a group of people who have been out here for more than a year. You've got a whole host of folks who come out on a daily basis. They meet with one another. They talk with one another. But today, the 22-1/2 years for some wasn't enough. They wanted to see more of a maximum sentence up to 30 years. But it was enough for them to feel that at least there was a punishment that was long enough did not feel like a slap on the wrist.
Folks out here, and I'll just give you a scene because I know you've seen this many times before on what things look like now here out at the square. It is calm. People are heartened that there was at least more than 20-year sentence in this case. But they were expecting 30 years, which they were chanting early on people were crying hoping for the absolute maximum in this case.
But they are -- you know, they're dealing with the fact that this is a police officer. They know that often the sentences are very different, they are much lighter, and they at least feel like some sense of justice has been served. And you heard also from the family there, right? You heard the family asking the judge for the maximum.
As well the judge felt that he was following the law, and so he did 270 months, which is 22-1/2 years.
There is a reaction here, though, to what Derek Chauvin said, because this is really the first time that people have heard more than a yes or no sort of answer to a question in court when it comes to this case when he said that he, you know, his condolences go to the Floyd family and that there is some information that he had that he can't reveal right now because of legal reasons that will help give them some peace.
That really struck a nerve here. It upset folks. They thought that was just ridiculous. They didn't know what he was talking about and they didn't really ever feel like he apologized to the family, understanding that there is another trial federally that he will face. And likely there may be appeals in this case as well.
But that really did not strike people well, some of the words that came out of his mouth -- Jake.
TAPPER: And, Sara, just to follow up on that, I was surprised when Derek Chauvin said that as well. Do we have any idea what he was talking about?
SIDNER: Only he and maybe his attorney do. I mean, it's sort of felt like it came out of nowhere to the folks around here. I'm going to try to get in touch with the family as well. I'm sure you'll hear from the Floyd family on that.
What could you possibly have that would give them any peace, judging from the videos they have all seen over and over, and the fact that you were convicted of murdering their brother, their family member in a slow sort of meticulous way. It's got a lot of folks talking around here.
TAPPER: Yeah. And just to be clear, my understanding is that the state guidelines of the judge was following suggested that the sentence for Derek Chauvin could be anywhere from 12-1/2 to 40 years. So the low end would be 12-1/2. The high end would be 40. That's the context of the 22-1/2-year sentence.
SIDNER: Yeah. There's a sentencing guideline as well that's actually 12-1/2 to 15. And so that's kind of the range in which many people that were -- that are convicted of second-degree unintentional murder would likely face because of the sentencing guidelines.
So, the judge has gone more than that but not the absolute maximum in this case. And you'll remember that the prosecutors had asked for 30 years and there was 22-1/2 that was handed down -- Jake.
TAPPER: All right, Sara Sidner, thanks so much. We'll come back to you.
Let's go to CNN's Omar Jimenez who's live outside the courtroom in Minneapolis.
And, Omar, my understanding is we do expect to hear from the family of George Floyd as well as the prosecutors any minute.
OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Jake. So, coming up next at some point in the next few minutes we're expecting to hear from Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison of course who's led the prosecutorial team from this. And then we'll hear from the George Floyd family. As you can imagine, a pretty intense reaction once that sentence actually came down, including from people who were part of an unfortunate fraternity.
I was just -- I noted in particular Justin Blake who's the uncle of Jacob Blake you remember was shot in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Your nephew wasn't killed in that case thankfully. But in this case, I saw your reaction when the sentence came down for Derek Chauvin. Why did you react that way, and what do you want the people to know about what this means?
JUSTIN BLAKE, UNCLE OF JACOB BLAKE: I just think we're taking small victories at a time. We're building blocks towards the victory that we all want. I think they could have given him more time personally. But you're in a different state where there's different laws. He gave him double what he should've had, and we think they could have given him a little more.
But we -- my brother Jacob came here to support the Floyd family. Good, bad, or ugly, we're with the Floyd family, the Taylor family, Andersons and all. So, even when we don't get the perfect turnout we get, we got a victory today that we got a police officer's never been to jail in Chicago, but they put the first guy away. He only got three years, but he was the first.
So, once you get the first cop and we show there's a layer of criminalism in there, then they can go after other ones now and get more years on other people.
JIMENEZ: Well, then, let me just ask you, bottom line, do you see today as a win?
BLAKE: Bro, I'm taking the day as a win. I'm here to support the Floyd family. They're not stellar, they're not throwing stuff in the air, but I promise you tonight the killer of their son, their brother, their loved one is going to jail, not for the time he should be that I think he should or anybody else. But they got some type of victory today.
We came here to support them, and anybody supporting the Floyd family should be happy for them right now.
JIMENEZ: Justin, thank you so much for taking the time, Justin. I appreciate it -- I appreciate it. Let me -- so as we talk about the sentence moving forward, you know, we mentioned we'll hear from the Attorney General Keith Ellison. But a lot of what Justin said is being reflected here. They felt they wanted more. And I should note, the 22- 1/2 years that Derek Chauvin got was seven and a half years lower than what prosecutors wanted.
And you heard the judge cite in his sentencing comments about those aggravating factors that he found were in this, were present in this -- the abuse of authority, for one. And so, he filed that 22-page memo. He's going to detail more of his explanation of what happened.
And I should also note that in Minnesota, the guidelines are when you're sentenced you serve two-thirds of that sentence mandatory, and then for Derek Chauvin in particular, if he shows good behavior or if he's in good standing, he is eligible to serve that final third under supervised release.
So when you put that in context, that's a lot of the discussion here trying to make people realize how many years this is actually going to be. And the last point I'll make is, on top of that, you have to remember there are two federal cases still pending against Derek Chauvin. Again, different jurisdiction but two of them that'll happen later on that would add to what we've already seen play out at the state level, Jake.
TAPPER: And, Omar, remind us of the status of these two federal cases. One of them has to do with George Floyd. The other one has to do with a separate incident. Where are they in the progress of the justice system?
JIMENEZ: That's right. They're still early stages right now to give brief context. One of them stems from George Floyd, of course, a violation of his civil rights. That one is in conjunction with the other three officers that have been charged at both the state and federal level in this. And the other federal case comes from a 2017 incident where he allegedly hit a teen with a flashlight and allegedly put his knee on that teen's neck as well.
Again, both of them still early stages and we expect them to play out, at least over the course of the next year or so, because, as we know, these take a long time. I should also note that the judge moved that federal case -- or the state case, excuse me, back for the other three officers so the federal case could play out first. They want that to take precedence for the next set of state cases because they believe that'll at least set a standard when it comes to seriousness.
TAPPER: All right. Omar Jimenez outside the courtroom, thank you so much.
Let's discuss this with our panel, CNN's W. Kamau Bell, psychologist Alfiee Breland Noble, former acting Baltimore police commissioner, Anthony Barksdale, joining us right now.
Kamau, let me start with you.
What was your reaction when you hear the sentence for Derek Chauvin, 22-1/2 years in prison?
W. KAMAU BELL, CNN HOST, "UNITED SHADES OF AMERICA": You know, the criminal justice system is an imperfect tool for justice. You know, there is -- I'm happy for George Floyd's family that that officer goes to jail for executing George Floyd in front of all of us, but we have to think of all the things that had to fall into place for that to happen for him to go to jail. If Darnella Frazier hadn't been there with her camera, if there hadn't been all those Black Lives Matter protests, if there hadn't all that pressure, if we hadn't had white Americans sit at home during the pandemic to watch that video over and over again, he -- I believe he'd still be an officer on the streets right now.
So, it doesn't necessarily give me a lot of hope about the future. And also let's remember the criminal justice system, other black men have been killed under suspicious circumstances since George Floyd.
TAPPER: Alfiee, let me get your reaction.
ALFIEE BRELAND-NOBLE, PSYCHOLOGIST: It's hard because for every -- there's this saying among a lot of black folks. You take two steps forward and 15 steps back. I think the struggle is I don't know how you call it a victory. I mean, George Floyd is still gone. I watched the victim statement of his daughter, and it is still ripping me apart.
And so, I -- the struggle is really, I do want to listen to Jacob Blake's family member who talked about we should be not rejoicing but we should be, I don't know, glad about the progress. But at the same time it is such a struggle. And emotionally, it's such a rollercoaster for people to have to go through this day after day, week after week. It just feels like it's never ending.
So my struggle is really how do we wrestle with this emotionally and how do I sit with it knowing that this man is not coming back. But I am glad that Derek Chauvin is going to prison.
TAPPER: Anthony Barksdale?
ANTHONY BARKSDALE, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Not happy with the sentence. I thought it would be heavier. I don't think that it gives the message to law enforcement that I was hoping for. I do think that the DOJ being involved is more hopeful, in my opinion. But this is a message to politicians who have law enforcement under them to check their shops, be sure that these cops are being trained and that this type of behavior is not tolerated in policing.
TAPPER: Elie Honig joins us as well.
Elie, the judge, of course, had leeway to sentence Chauvin up to 40 years. State guidelines laid out a sentence starting at 12 and a half. Prosecutors wanted 30. The defense wanted probation.
What's your take?
ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Jake, the criminal justice system is inherently imperfect, and that's particularly the case with a murder. A life has been taken. There's nothing that can ever be done to fully restore the family, as we saw in sort of really poignant visceral display here, when we heard from the family members.
All things considered, look, this is a lot of time. I mean, 22-1/2 years, it will be 15 years as a practical matter. I would never be glib about any time that anyone has to spend in prison. That said, I believe the sentence was light, the judge would've been within his legal rights if even one aggravating factor had been found to double the 15-year guidelines and go up to 30. The judge did not do that. He went up significantly, but he did not go up to 30 years.
And I think as a result Derek Chauvin got off fairly -- I'm not going to say 22-1/2, 15 years as a practical matter is light, but I think overall, the sentence could've been higher. But remember, he does still have those two federal indictments pending so that could add to his time as well.
TAPPER: Kamau, what do you make of some of the comments we heard in the courtroom before the sentence came down? We heard Derek Chauvin's mother talking about how proud she was of him. We heard from the daughter of George Floyd and heart-wrenching video testimony. Do you think any of that had any impact on the judge?
BELL: I would imagine that the judge had made his decision before all that happened. I don't know that Elie can talk to this more --
TAPPER: I'm sorry for interrupting, Kamau. Kamau, I come back to you, but I want to go to Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison who's speaking right now.
KEITH ELLISON, MINNESOTA ATTORNEY GENERAL: His fellow police officers in the world. My hope is that he takes the time to learn something about the man whose life he took and about the movement that rose up to call for justice in the wake of George Floyd's torture and death.
Today is also an important moment for our country. The outcome of this case is critically important. But by itself, it's not enough.
My hope for our country is that this moment gives us pause and allows us to rededicate ourselves to the real societal change that will move us much further along the road to justice.
[16:15:10] I'm not talking about the kind of change that takes decades. I'm talking about real change, concrete change that real people can do now. I'm talking to lawmakers.
At this historic moment, there is so much legislation around the country in city councils, county boards, state legislatures and Congress that is still waiting to be passed. If these bills were passed, they would make the deaths at the hands of law enforcement officers less likely, would improve police community relations, would restore trust and therefore cooperation, improve the lives of officers who want to protect and serve and make everyone safer. Every one of these bills at every level of government is critical for helping our families, our law enforcement officers, communities, and the country heal.
Above all, Congress has still not passed the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. I call on leaders and members of Congress to pass the best and strongest version of this bill that can be passed and to pass it now.
President Biden called on the Congress to pass this bill. It must be passed. Lives are depending upon it. It's just that simple.
I'm speaking now to law enforcement leaders. At this historic moment, law enforcement leaders are in a position to finally put in place policy, training, mechanisms, and accountability that can build a police department that people can really trust and rely on. And the elected leaders that they answer to must support and empower these law enforcement leaders to do it.
Where there is distrust between community and police, there is less cooperation between community and police. And at a moment where violent crime is spiking across the nation in major cities, we simply cannot afford the distrust. The schism leaves us all a little less safe.
But trust and cooperation must be earned. You cannot clean a dirty wound. By bringing accountability in law enforcement, you actually promote public safety.
I say to those law enforcement leaders, make no mistake, this is something your officers are asking for. In the aftermath of George Floyd's death, 14 Minneapolis Police Department officers signed an open letter condemning Derek Chauvin's actions and embracing the call for reform and change. These 14 officers don't only speak for themselves. They speak for hundreds across the country.
These officers and ones like them want you to support officers who treat everyone with dignity and respect. They want you to support officers who are taking risk to speak up and demand that we do better. They want you to hold their colleagues accountable who refuse to serve communities with dignity and respect.
Why do officers want accountability? Well, think of the 9-year-old girl wearing a t-shirt that said "love" across the front who witnessed George Floyd's murder and how she will feel 20 years from now as she may be speaking to her own children about whether to trust law enforcement. The damage that Derek Floyd's crime inflicted upon the reputation of officers is undermining the ability for people to trust. And that is very tragic.
It's not fair to judge all police officers by Derek Chauvin's actions. But some people inevitably will generalize unless there is true accountability. You just can't heal a dirty wound. And when there's little trust, sadly, there's little safety.
When law enforcement leaders take clear steps to build in accountability and prioritize wellness for their officers, they will have the officers' respect, trust between officers and the people. They are dedicated to protecting and serving.
Let me speak to prosecutors. We believe and we state and declare that no one is above the law and no one is beneath it. A police officer's not above the law, and George Floyd certainly is not beneath the law.
When after a thorough review prosecutors believe that they have probable cause that anyone, including someone operating with the authority of law and law enforcement, has violated the law, our prosecutors must be vigorous, visible, and swift.
I'm speaking to community now. We need every community member to continue the call for real reform and meaningful change -- peacefully, constructively, but clearly.
This is a moment for change, and your call for it is making it happen.
This means everyone who wants to live in a society with dignity and respect as core values, everyone who wants to be safe in their homes and on the street, everyone who wants to get the help that they need, everyone who wants their loved ones to get home safely. This is what we need to do.
What will happen if we don't do it? We will slip deeper into a century-long cycle of inaction. We can and we must make another choice, the choice to break the old paradigm and end the cycle of inaction, the choice to act for accountability and justice, the choice to transform ourselves and our country for the sake of all the lives that have been lost, for the sake of the terrible sacrifices that too many families like the Floyds have had to make, and for the sake of many officers who strive to perform with high standards and for the sake of the community.
Time is up. It's time to act. We're counting on you. We're counting on each other.
Finally, I want to thank this extraordinary team of prosecutors. It has been my deepest honor to work with you. You all are the best. And I'm honored to be your colleague.
I want to send another strong signal of love and friendship to the Floyd family who have done so much to uphold the dignity of our community.
I want to thank the Hennepin County attorney's office and Mike Freeman who have been side by side with us and have done such a good job and we appreciate their work.
And I want to thank the witnesses who courageously stepped forward for George Floyd on May 25th at risk to themselves and came back a year later to testify about what they saw.
And, lastly, I want to thank the community for making the call for justice.
That's it. Thank you very much.
TAPPER: That was Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison reflecting on the 22-1/2-year sentence just handed down to Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who was convicted sometime ago of the murder of George Floyd.
I want to bring back our panel.
And, Kamau, what do you make of what we just heard from Keith Ellison?
BELL: I think the key part of that whole piece was about the George Floyd Act needing to be passed. Until we pass the George Floyd Act and really look at policing in this country as a whole, not as individual cities and departments, we're not going to get anywhere. I can't help but think about Daunte Wright who was killed in the same area as George Floyd. You would think if any police departments in the country were worry worried about how to treat people, would be in that area.
Things haven't changed. And until we have our leaders and elected officials be brave enough and strong enough to stand up for the George Floyd Act, we're not doing anything.
TAPPER: I will say on the Daunte Wright killing, the officer who shot him and killed him is, I believe, in jail right now. And there is a legal proceeding beginning there.
Anthony, one of the things that Keith Ellison talked about were the circumstances that, in his view, should have made the sentence harsher, more than 22 and a half years. There was a potential for 40 years. And, among them, if you look at the document from prosecutors or the fact that former Officer Chauvin was in a position of power and authority when he committed this crime, committed this murder, that it was an act of particular cruelty, that there were children present. And we all know that.
And then also that he committed this as a group. They didn't use the term gang in the legal document, but as a group. It wasn't just one person. It was -- it was four.
In your judgment, you think that this should have been, what? A 30- year sentence, a 40-year sentence?
BARKSDALE: A 30 easy. Jake, I'm saying 30 easy. When you're in that uniform, you're all that some communities have. You're it. You're the only good that they might see.
And then to do this in front of a little girl and other citizens, it just shows you have no respect for that community that you're supposed to serve. And excuse me if I'm a little bit riled up about this.
But 30 easy for what we all saw. He did not deserve to be an officer. He murdered Mr. Floyd. And this sentence is light.
And, once again, I'll say it again, maybe the DOJ will give something closer to an appropriate sentence for his actions.
TAPPER: And, Elie, let me bring you in on that because obviously there is the potential that Derek Chauvin will only serve 15 years of this 22 and a half year sentence depending upon good behavior and that sort of thing. But these other federal charges pending, it's early in the process so we don't know what's going to happen. But assuming that the legal process continues there, how much more time could he serve than the 22-1/2 years of the 15 years if he does the bare minimum?
HONIG: So, Jake, the maximum under the federal charge here is life imprisonment for the killing of George Floyd because death resulted from his violation of civil rights.
There's really two ways that either of those federal indictments could result in more time. One, if the ultimate sentence is just more than this 22-1/2 years or as a practical matter the 15 years. And two is the federal judge could decide to run any sentence in those case, what we call consecutive to this sentence, meaning back-to-back. Now that's unlikely to happen with the charges relating to George Floyd because it's the same conduct.
However, the other indictment relates to an assault by Derek Chauvin on a 14-year-old who Chauvin allegedly hit with a flashlight. If he's convicted on that, I think it's likely a judge will tack that on top of the sentence we saw today.
TAPPER: Alfiee, as part of sentencing today, we heard from four members of the Floyd family. We are waiting for the family to speak. When that happens I might have to interrupt you. And I apologize ahead of time.
But I do want to play part of Brandon Williams' statement. He's the nephew of George Floyd.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRANDON WILLIAMS, GEORGE FLOYD'S NEPHEW: The sudden murder of George traumatized us. You may see us cry, but the pain will never be seen with a naked eye. The heartbreaking hurt goes far beyond any number of tears we could ever cry. Words simply cannot express the pain, the anguish and suffering that our family and friends have endured since George's murder.
(END VIDEO CLIP) TAPPER: Obviously nothing will end the pain. Obviously nothing will make up for the loss. But does the sentencing today, in your view, bring any sort of closure?
BRELAND-NOBLE: I think, listening to my colleagues talk about the sentencing and how it could've been heavier, I do think that that is an important thing to weigh in terms of how the family's managing all of this. But at the same time part of healing is accountability. And so I really believe that the accountability piece is what's important. So the fact that he's going to jail or prison at all, I think does bring a level of healing.
But to the young man what he said, we will never know the full extent of this family's pain, the trauma that they've experienced in their own experience because each person experiences trauma differently. But having a sentence knowing that he's going away for at least 15 years, I do think demonstrates some accountability. And I think that's a small thing that the family will be able to hold onto.
TAPPER: Let's go to Minneapolis and listen in if we can to what we're hearing from the family there.
REV. AL SHARPTON, CVIIL RIGHTS LEADER: The family of Jacob Blake is with us. And the family of Daunte Wright is with us. This verdict and this sentencing is the longest sentence we've seen, but it is not justice because George Floyd is in a grave tonight even though Chauvin will be in jail.
So let us not feel that we're here to celebrate because justice would've been George Floyd never had been killed. Justice would've been the maximum. We got more than we thought only because we have been disappointed so many times before, 22-1/2 years is longer than we've ever got, but shorter than what we should've gotten in the past.
Let us remember a man lost his life. This is not a prayer of celebration, it's a prayer to thank God for giving the strength to this family and those activists that stayed in the streets to make sure this court had to do what was right.
Let me repeat for those in the back because those are the ones that marched. That this is the longest sentence they've ever given. But it is not justice. Justice is George Floyd being alive. Justice is that they would have been doing this. Had they done sentences like this before, maybe Chauvin would not have thought he would have gotten away with it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's right.
SHARPTON: So let us remember the people that you castigated and attacked that marched in Minneapolis and we marched all over this country, that wouldn't stop, and we're not going to stop.
One sentence does not solve a criminal justice problem. The United States Senate must show the same courage this jury showed and hold police accountable for murder and make them pay in the court of law maximum for murder. Not a token, not a donation but full accountability --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Amen.
SHARPTON: -- for the actions that you did.
Let us pray.
Dear God, we come to the same spot we bowed at the beginning of the trial, asking you to give this family strength and give them grace. And you brought us now to the end of this particular proceeding. They will say it is more time than any time in history. But we will say that history has been long underserving its citizens.
And we humbly thank you for giving this family the strength to stand where other families didn't even get a court date.
We remember Eric Garner today. We remember Michael Brown. We remember Jacob Blake who is still with us.
We remember Tamir Rice on his birthday 19 years old would've been today. We remember Breonna Taylor. They never got a court date.
We did get a court date, a conviction, and some time. Some will say that's progress. I will say as Malcolm X said, if you have a knife in my back 6 inches, to take out 4 inches is progress, but I still have 2 inches of knife in my back. The knife is still in our back as long as these unresolved cases are there.
And the Floyd family and those of us in the civil rights community and the activist community will not stop until justice becomes a matter of federal law and no longer a news story but the story that we know will follow. Touch the U.S. Senate to see that they must make law so that we will not have little children like George's daughter had to give a judge a statement about the value of her daddy. But they understand that all of your children matter. Yes, Black Lives Matter because you made us all.
And we'll be careful to be loyal, and we will be careful to live up to the calling you place on the lives of those that serve and careful to give your name the praise. These blessings we ask in your name, amen.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Amen.
SHARPTON: Let me bring on now, it's been a long journey, and this is not the end. This is just one stop on the highway toward full justice. None has been more courageous, none has been more consistent. One has not been more unselfish than the attorney general of black America who has stood with this family from day one. Came even when the cameras weren't there, and has stayed with the family and other families.
Let us bring before we bring members of the family, Attorney Ben Crump.
BEN CRUMP: Thank you. Thank you very much, Reverend Al Sharpton for leading this family and this country in prayer as we continue the struggle to make the words of liberty and justice for all real in America.
I stand here with a great legal team, standing firmly with the family of George Floyd. That is Attorney Chris Stewart and Attorney Justin Miller from Atlanta, Georgia. Attorney Tony Romanucci from Chicago, Illinois, and Attorney Jeff Storms from right here in Minneapolis.
And at present we have the brothers of George Floyd, Philonise Floyd, Terrence Floyd, and Rodney Floyd, as well as Brandon Williams. We have his cousins Shareeduh Tate and Tera Brown. We know at home we have his sisters Bridgett Floyd, Jaja (ph) Floyd and LaTonya Floyd, and certainly his beautiful daughter, Chris tells me, is looking, smiling, saying that her daddy changed the world, and he will talk more about that later.
And we want to acknowledge all his family. We want to acknowledge all of the people who used their voice to say his name.
Say his name!
CROWD: George Floyd!
CRUMP: Say his name!
CROWD: George Floyd!
CRUMP: Say his name!
CROWD: George Floyd!
CRUMP: Today represents an opportunity to be a turning point in America.
This is the longest sentence that a police officer has ever been sentenced to in the history of the state of Minnesota. But this should not be the exception when a black person is killed by brutality by police. It should be the norm. And so when we think about real justice, real justice would be George Floyd still being here with his family.
So what we got today was some measure of accountability. And we understand that there are still federal charges pending. So as his brothers and his family asked for the maximum, we are still holding out for the maximum.
CROWD: That's right!
CRUMP: We have to remember real justice in America will be black men and black women and people of color will not have to fear being killed by the police just because the color of their skin.
CROWD: That's right!
CRUMP: That would be real justice.
So, we thank most of all the millions of Americans who raised their voice. You all raised your voices. And because you raised your voices, that is why we got the guilty conviction, and that is why we got the longest sentence in the state of Minnesota history.
So on behalf of the Floyd family, we want to say thank you to millions of Americans who all said, until we get justice for George Floyd, until we get accountability for george Floyd, none of us can breathe. We can breathe just a little easier today. And we thank you for that.
CROWD: We got your back!
CRUMP: Thank you all.
And I will say this. We got accountability on the civil side thanks to the leadership of the city leaders in Minnesota. We now have gotten some accountability on the criminal level.
But we need accountability on the policy level. So, we say to the United States senate, pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act immediately! Immediately! Immediately!
At this time I give you one of the finest attorneys in the United States of America. I have had the pleasure of being with a team of lawyers, Reverend Al, who are second to none, and each of them work tirelessly day and night from every corner of America working on behalf of George Floyd's family.
And there is no way we could get to this point where we had on this journey to justice without all our brothers and sisters, (INAUDIBLE), Madeline Simmons (ph), Michelle Gadeau (ph), all of those, Scott Peters, all of them who are working, Scott Madison. They allowed us to come out front to be with the family today. But they are not forgotten.
And I know my brother in Navajo who just did wonderful things in Louisiana with Alton Sterling, Chris Stewart, appreciates each and every one of the lawyers on our team. At this time you're going to hear from attorney Chris Stewart and attorney Justin Miller.
L. CHRIS STEWART, FLOYD FAMILY ATTORNEY: First let me start by saying Roxie and Gianna couldn't be here. But right now, Gianna is actually watching. She's watching live.
So let me tell you, Gianna, you've done two things in this case. You started by saying, my daddy changed the world.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes!
STEWART: I want you to know you changed the world. Because today that statement that you gave was not just powerful, but it was prophetic. You told us that his spirit is still here.
And people that are doubting, people that are looking at these monuments coming up and the statutes coming up of George Floyd and not understanding, you aren't understanding that his spirit is changing things. It doesn't matter who the man was. It matters who he is now.
There are conversations happening between black and white that never would've happened before about policing. There are conversations happening between senators that we are pushing and urging to stand up for what you believe in. If you believe in law and order and change, then you will pass this bill because it protects everyone.
Nelson Mandela once said if you change what you believe depending on who you're talking to, you are not fit to lead.
STEWART: So we are looking for leadership. We are looking for the leadership of George Floyd, which is in every single person now. We are getting off the sidelines and realizing that if you critique policing, it doesn't mean you hate every cop, it means you want the bad cops gone.
STEWART: And we only will change things by leaving the sidelines and coming together in the middle no matter what color you are. And that is the spirit of George Floyd. And, yes, Gianna has changed the world. It's been an honor and a privilege standing up for this family. It's just been an honor.
JUSTIN MILLER, FLOYD FAMILY ATTORNEY: First and foremost, I would like to say to the family my condolences, my prayers from everyone in Atlanta, from Scott Masterson, Madeline Simmons, Lewis Brisbois law firm who put in a lot of work to help get us to the point we are today.
Thank you to the family.
I know that Mr. Chauvin's mother didn't have any words for the family but we do and I know you guys do.
So to the family I say my condolences and I'm sorry. We love you. And we love you because this is what it's about first and foremost, love.
Second thing I'll say is this. Until things like this are not national news, we haven't made it. We're still in the same place that we were 20 years ago and 30 years ago. We are all here talking about something that everybody sitting right here new what should've happened.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's right, yes.
MILLER: We knew from day one he murdered George Floyd.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. MILLER: We all saw it. But we had to go through this for a year to get
to this point where this family can have some modicum, some amount of closure, a year. So, I'll say this, until black and brown people in this country can get closure, can depend on the justice system, can know that when someone murders somebody in broad daylight, that they are going to be held accountable. We got a lot of work to do.
And I will say to all you people, all you activists, all you people who were fighting from day one, keep working, keep pushing, keep fighting, keep fighting, because we have a lot of work to do in Atlanta, Georgia, and in Brookline, Minnesota -- Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, I'm sorry, and in New York City. And in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and in North Carolina, and in Los Angeles, California, and Texas and Chicago, we have work to do.
So keep pushing. This is a victory and we're going to celebrate it as a victory. But it's one small step, and we have a lot more to go.
So thank you guys for being with us through all of this. Thank you guys for loving this family, and pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, ASAP, ASAP.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Amen.
CRUMP: And now before we get to the family, some great lawyers from Chicago, Illinois, one of the best civil rights lawyers in America, and a great lawyer who hails right here in Minnesota. I mean, without him giving us the lay of the land, there's no way we would have been able to achieve what we have accomplished. Attorney Antonio Romanucci and attorney Jeff Storms.
ANTONIO ROMANUCCI, FLOYD FAMILY ATTORNEY: Good afternoon, everyone. My name is Tony Romanucci. What we saw today was the final, the graph intersected, the perfect apex now between civil justice and criminal justice.
What we now have today, we have proof that black lives matter, that they are valuable, and that when you violate policies, you're going to pay and you're going to pay a lot of money. And when you violate the law, you're going to get prosecuted and you're going to go to jail, and you're going to go to jail for a long time.
And those two lines crossed today, and George Floyd now equals justice on both civil and criminal. But the job isn't over. It's not over until we go state to state. Reverend Al, Ben, you all said it so eloquently.
We must have the George Floyd police reforming bill passed.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Amen. ROMANUCCI: If that doesn't get passed, our justice could fall. The
graph could fall. We need justice all over America. We want justice for George Floyd, the Floyd family. We continue to love you, we always love you, we'll always be a part of your lives.
But there are so many other families that are here today that are also suffering and require that same justice, civil and criminal. That's what matters most. Thank you all.
JEFF STORMS, FLOYD FAMILY ATTORNEY: Not a lot to say that hasn't been said. But as the local Minnesota lawyer, I just want us to remember that we need all of you, we need the media, we need the activists because the second we turn around and leave, we have to go back and ask ourselves how do we get more justice for George Floyd, how do we get justice for Daunte Wright. How do we get justice for Winston Smith (ph)? How do we get justice for the many families here who are regularly fought for by people like Tashira Garaway (ph) and her group, Nikema Levy Armstrong (ph) and her group?
And without all of you, we don't have the energy for that fight right here. We need you all to keep turning out, and we appreciate it because it's allowed the Floyd family to get the most historic justice we've ever seen. But it's not enough. Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's not enough.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Don't forget Dalal E (ph).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dalal E.
CRUMP: And as we get ready to bring up the Floyd family, I would be remiss if Brandon, as we heard the sentence, leaned in and whispered in my ear, I got a text from Breonna Taylor's mother congratulating us on getting some justice, the justice that she never got. And I have to tell you, Reverend Al, Derek Chauvin's mother was standing up there making her comments, I thought of Tamika Palmer, Breonna Taylor's mother.
So it's not enough until we get justice for all of our people who have been killed unjustly. I think -- yeah. Breonna Taylor's with us.
Right now, we're going to have you hear from some of the Floyd family members. You've come to know him. He has been speaking at the U.S. Congress to the United Nations and everywhere saying that we demand justice for my big brother George Floyd. He sounds like a politician, Reverend Al.
Mr. Philonise Floyd.
PHILONISE FLOYD, GEORGE FLOYD'S BROTHER: I got a lot of emotions going through my head right now. But I just find it profound that I felt that I begged for justice for my brother, some type of accountability. The treatment that I thought that everybody should receive is just life, you know. You can't get that back. We all live together in this world, and we all want to be able to work
together in this world. You have good police officers, and you have bad ones, the fact that you shouldn't have to sort them out. The community that I grew up in, it was a lot of African-American people. But the fact that Minnesota has a greater amount of Caucasian people, I still think that everybody should be the same, everybody should be neutral, everybody should want to make a difference and make sure that people when they come to Minnesota, they don't think about George Floyd.
They should be able to think about how great Minnesota is, not thinking about Philando Castile, you know. His mother is still fighting. I'm thinking about Daunte Wright. Many families I had to console.
You think about Anthony McLean (ph). He was killed. All these people were shot in the back, most of them. The fact that I'm here and I'm still standing and over a year later, I'm still speaking and I'm speaking out, times are hard.
I have a family, we wake up every day, and we don't see my brother. Empty seats all around the house, he would have been here. The fact that Gianna will grow up knowing that her father had made a difference in the world, but the fact that she cannot have a sweet 16, she cannot have him walk her down the aisle. She will not be able to have prom with the daddy dance.
This is not something realistic. This is something it's like a dream, but we all need to stand up for what is right.
All these activists and all these advocates, I thank you all. Definitely I thank you all, because if you all didn't speak up, we wouldn't have had a lot of help. But the fact that the world, you got to think about Japan, you have to think about Germany, you have to think United Nations. You have to think Italy.
I have so many different people I spoke to, Africa, all around the world, and they all think the same way. Your skin color should not define who you are.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Amen.
P. FLOYD: It should never be a weapon. And the fact that we're here standing today still breathing, we're still fighting. Reverend Al always says keep fighting. And that's something I can't stop.
I want to tell Ms. Carr, I love you. I know his heart. That's Eric Garner's mom.
I want to tell Breonna Taylor's mom, I love you. Pamela -- I know it's hard, I want to tell Pamela Turner, that's Baytown, Texas.
This is -- this is not okay. Her daughter is walking around, and I know she's in tears every day thinking about her mother. Her mother was killed in point-blank range, shot multiple times.
So many different people all around the world who didn't even have this type of technology, I just want to reiterate not just Black Lives Matter, all lives matter. We need to stand up and fight. Can't get comfortable. Because when you get comfortable, people forget about you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Amen.
P. FLOYD: So, the legend will still live on. George is not here, but his spirit lives here. Breonna Taylor is not here, but the spirit still lives here. Eric Garner is not here, spirit's still right here.
But the fact that we're here fighting, I want you all to stand up and fight. Thank you all so much.
CRUMP: And next we are going to have another brother of George who came all the way from New York, Brooklyn, New York. As we introduce him, it's not lost on us as Attorney Stewart, Attorney Romanucci. It's always a journey to justice.
Tony told me Laquan McDonald, the police officer that killed him shot him 14 times in the back on video.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sixteen.
CRUMP: Sixteen times in the back on video. And he was convicted of second-degree murder. He was only sentenced to six years.
Botham Jean who in Dallas, Texas, was killed in his own department. The white Policewoman Amber Guyger was found guilty of first degree, Reverend Al, and she was only sentenced to ten years.
And Justin Miller, where was it, Walter Scott in South Carolina, same conviction, shot in the back on video, convicted 20 years.
So, each step, each case, we keep making progress. We came too far to stop now. We have to keep going forward. And so that's why all the energy we have in this courtroom, we have to take to Capitol Hill, and we have to join Senator Cory Booker, we have to join Congresswoman Karen Bass, Senator Tim Scott. We got to say, you all, we need meaningful police reform so we don't have to put up with these injustices.
It seems like, Reverend Al, every other week, there's a new hashtag. We can stop this, America. We're at the turning point.
Terrence Floyd, Brooklyn, New York.
TERRENCE FLOYD, GEORGE FLOYD'S BROTHER: Let me hear you all say change.
T. FLOYD: Let me hear you all say change.
T. FLOYD: That's right.
Just like I heard you all say change all together, that's how we're going to keep the change going, together. Keep fighting.
The way we got here is because of our fight and your fight together.
You all hit the streets, we thankful for y'all. And we just -- I'm overwhelmed. I'm overwhelmed, because I'm going to tell you a quick story. I had a dream the other night. I was in a field in the south with my family.
And I looked back and I saw a man, I saw a man coming up walking, walking. And I am trying to figure out who is that. I look, he gets closer. And all of a sudden, I see the hat cocked to the side. Anybody that know me know who that is. That's my father.
So he got close to me, and he gave me a smile and he gave me a hug. I woke up. That dream was so real I woke up hugging myself.
So I knew I was a little leery about the sentencing, but because of that, I knew that my father was saying -- you good, he's good, keep doing what you're doing for me, for your brother, for your name. Because we Floyd strong. And we going to stay strong.
SHARPTON: That's right.
CRUMP: Well said.
Thank you, Terrence.
Next we will hear from the nephew of George Floyd who's like a son in many regards to him, Brandon Williams.
BRANDON WILLIAMS, GEORGE FLOYD'S NEPHEW: It's funny that we got justice but not enough justice. I remember standing here the first day of trial in this very same spot. And we were very optimistic and not sure of what was going to happen.
After seeing that video we should've been 100 percent sure that we would be at a guilty conviction with a maximum sentence. When you think about George being murdered in cold blood with a knee on his neck for 9 minutes and 29 seconds execution style in broad daylight, 22-1/2 years is not enough.
CROWD: That's right.
WILLIAMS: We were served a life sentence. We can't get George back. Gianna can't hug George again. We wouldn't be able to hug possibly and see his family again. We can't get George back.
So in retrospect, I feel that he should've received a life sentence as well. What kind of message are you sending to our country? What kind of message are you sending to the younger kids like Gianna that you can kill a man in cold blood and get a slap on the wrist? That's like a slap in the face to all of us standing up here, and everybody around the world who feel what we feel saw that video.
So I won't celebrate this. I won't celebrate it at all, but I will celebrate a guilty conviction on a police officer that killed a black man because far too many times we see them killers and they get right away with it. I will celebrate this as a victory for Ms. Tamika Palmer who I'm very, very close with.
I hope that Attorney Daniel Cameron out of Kentucky can follow Keith Ellison's lead and charge the cops who killed Breonna Taylor. So there are some positive things to take from this. But this 22-1/2 years just doesn't work for me.
CRUMP: All right, Brandon -- from the heart, Brandon.
And we have his brother, his baby brother Rodney Floyd from Houston, Texas, Third Ward.
RODNEY FLOYD, GEORGE FLOYD'S BROTHER: How y'all doing? I'd like to thank the protesters first, the local protesters in this city. I'd like to thank all the protesters that came out across this country standing up for their cities as well demanding change. We all have one thing in common. We want change from our brother's case.
This right here is, this 22-year sentence they gave this man, it's a slap on the wrist. We, serving a life sentence from not having him in our life, and that hurts me to death (ph).
And looking at his beautiful daughter Gianna in her video saying my dad changed the world. He did change the world. But at the end result, he gets a slap on the wrist, just said, 22 years from killing her dad. That he can't take her to school, he can't eat lunch with her. He can't conversate with her.
I know my daughter. I love my daughter. We talk, we hug, she's my best friend. I hate to see that she can't have that connection with her father, those great conversations, those wonderful phone calls lighting up her face, you know.
And around the world black, white, brown, we all need to come together, take our butts to the Senate, stand out there and demand this George Floyd Act be passed.