Derek Chauvin sentence sparks anger and disappointment, but many see it as a historic moment nonetheless

·2-min read

Terrence Floyd posed questions to Derek Chauvin that many have asked in the 13 months since his brother George was murdered.

"What were you thinking? What was going through your head?" he asked the former police officer during his statement in court. "Why didn't you get up?"

Chauvin gave no answers in his own brief statement, just the merest word of condolence, and the whole world is again left wondering.

Perhaps the most powerful image from Chauvin's sentencing hearing was the mobile phone video of George Floyd's daughter Gianna.

Her young voice cut through the hush of the courtroom and when she spoke about her father her loss was palpable.

The dad who helped her brush her teeth, she said, is still with her in spirit and her faith brings her certainty that she will see him again one day. Few can have been unmoved.

After the sentence was delivered emotions among those listening outside the court were mixed.

There was anger and disappointment that the sentence wasn't longer, but many acknowledged it as a historic moment in American justice nonetheless.

Courteney Ross, who had been George Floyd's girlfriend at the time of his death, tried to calm those who were angry and shouted down others calling for more violent protests.

It wasn't the sentence she had hoped for, she said, but it was "a start" and a tribute to the work of those who had campaigned in George Floyd's name. Progress, she says, is being made.

"If people haven't noticed the good in all of this, they're not looking," she said.

Chauvin himself still faces a federal trial for depriving Mr Floyd of his civil rights and the other officers there that day are yet to have their day in court.

Minneapolis has not seen the end of this story, even if another chapter has ended.

A small march made its way through the downtown streets of Minneapolis on Friday, the familiar chants ringing out, but without the heated anger felt in the summer.

There is recognition change will take time but that it has started to come.

As the Floyd family lawyer Ben Crump told the crowd: "We can breathe a little easier today."

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