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Van Jones Lashes Out at Chauvin Sentence: ‘It’s a Punch in the Gut… What That Officer Did is Worth More Than 15 Years’

    CNN contributor and former radical activist Van Jones was “very disappointed” with the Chauvin sentence. The Minneapolis police officer who was found guilty of second-degree homicide in the death of George Floyd received a sentence of 22.5 years in prison. But Chauvin could potentially be out in 15 years.

    “Derek Chauvin has been sentenced to 22 1/2 years for the murder of George Floyd. Will serve 15 years of that because you serve two-thirds of the time sentenced,” CNN’s Victor Blackwell said. “Let’s get reaction starting with you, Elie Honig.”

    “Justice is imperfect,” Jennifer Honig said. “This is a serious sentence. Derek Chauvin will be in prison 15 years. He’s 45 now, until he’s 60. That said, I think this is light. I think the judge should’ve sentenced him more. Minnesota guidelines say you can double the 15 years if there is one aggravator. This judge found four aggravators and didn’t really come super close to doubling it.”

    Then, Van Jones weighed in.

    “Very disappointing. Very disappointing,” Jones said. “Fifteen years. I know people doing 15 years for nothing. I mean, For victimless crimes of drug possession. Very disappointing.”

    “The level of — any one of those aggravators, what this man did, it should’ve been the maximum of the maximum,” Jones continued. “This is disappointing. I don’t think it’s going to cause outrage. But it’s a punch in the gut. This guy’s life was worth more than 15 years — it was. And what that officer did is worth more than 15 years. And 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. It’s disappointing.”

    “Yeah. The sentence isn’t 15 years,” Jennifer Honig added. “The sentence is 22 1/2 years. So the two-thirds is good behavior. That’s a legal matter. The judge legally can’t consider that when imposing sentence. He’s got to impose a sentence that he feels is appropriate, and that sentence was 22 1/2 years. That said, I do think also that it was light, like you all do.”

    Meanwhile, BLM organizers and activists gathered in Minneapolis after the verdict to share their own disappointment at the verdict. Floyd Family attorney Ben Crump, Al Sharpton, and Minnesota AG Keith Ellison all attended.

    The sentencing was sure to disappoint Black Lives Matter and social justice activists who had sought a much longer sentence.

    “For someone who actually committed murder, if he only gets like 15 years, that’s unacceptable,” Trahern Crews, founder and chief organizer for Black Lives Matter Minnesota said before the sentencing.

    “The maximum penalty for second-degree murder in Minnesota is 40 years,” WSJ noted. “State sentencing guidelines recommend 12 to 15 years for someone with no prior felony convictions, but prosecutors said they would seek a harsher sentence.”

    BLM activists are clearly upset about the sentence. Hopefully, this frustration will not result in yet more violence and chaos in a city that has already suffered much in the last year over the Floyd death.

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    OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion.