Tina Knowles-Lawson decries Chauvin’s ‘disappointing’ sentence

She compared Chauvin's sentence to that of her godson, who is serving 20 years in prison for marijuana possession

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Roughly two months after Derek Chauvin was found guilty of the murder of George Floyd, Judge Peter Cahill announced Friday that the former Minneapolis police officer will be sentenced to 22 and a half years in prison.

Since the news broke, many have taken to social media to voice strong opinions about the decision, with many claiming the sentence is too short for the crime committed. Critics of the decision include stars such as Tina Knowles-Lawson, 67, who is often vocal about social issues on social media.

Tina Knowles Lawson thegrio.com
Tina Knowles attend the Eddie Murphy X ARTUS Gallery Exhibition Opening Night at East Angel Gallery on February 20, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Phillip Faraone/Getty Images)

“Very Disappointing!!” Knowles-Lawson wrote as the caption under a photo posted to her Instagram account on Friday.

She added that her godson has been in jail for over a decade, serving a similar sentence for marijuana possession.

“My Godson was sentenced to 20 years for 2 ounces of marijuana he has been in jail for 11 years,” wrote Knowles-Lawson. “This man convicted of three charges. He murdered this man on TV before the world. And will only serve 15! The system has to change!”

Floyd died from a cardiopulmonary arrest last May after Chauvin knelt on his neck for nine minutes and 29 seconds, despite Floyd repeatedly saying that he was unable to breathe. Video of the murder was captured by Darnella Frazier, who was awarded a Pulitzer Prize citation for her documentation.

The now-viral video played a large role in Chauvin’s convictions for second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

“I want to give my condolences to the Floyd family,” Chauvin said in court, following the announcement of his sentencing. “There’s going to be some other information in the future that would be of interest, and I hope things will give you some peace of mind.”

Under Knowles-Lawson’s post, several commenters echoed sentiments of disgust towards the length of Chauvin’s sentencing.

“I just know they didn’t expect us to jump for joy or something. Since when is a human life equivalent to 22 years? This is a slap on the wrist compared to other charges,” wrote @joy_mechell.

“20 years for 2 ounces of marijuana?! 11 years ?! 11 years stolen from family, society for a bag of weed. America is truly unbelievable… and extremely broken,” wrote @theeashmorgan.

“22 years? But he only has to do 15? Black people we got screwd again. Black people right now in jail for life, from nonviolent drug charges,” wrote @iamafather2014.

Chauvin may only end up serving around 15 years of his sentence due to a system called “determinate sentencing” which is used in Minnesota. 

This system does not award parole, bond, or early release for good behavior during incarceration. Instead, inmates who serve two-thirds of a sentence can spend the rest of the time on supervised release.

Other celebrities such as Ava DuVernay, Roxane Gay, and Martin Luther King III also took to social media to express their feelings about the news.

“Derek Chauvin is a murderer. A murderer who watched multiple people plead for the life of the man he killed in broad daylight. A murderer who placed the full weight of his body on another human being’s neck and felt the life drain out of him. Derek Chauvin is a murderer,” wrote DuVernay.

“My goodness. 270 months in prison for Derek Chauvin, can never own firearms again, must register as a predatory offender upon release. George Floyd is still dead,” wrote Gay.

“The world was watching today as #DerekChauvin was sentenced. Unfortunately, what he received today fell short of what true justice would look like for Mr. Floyd and his family. Full Accountability is key to creating an unbiased justice system…DISAPPOINTED!” wrote King.

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