MINNEAPOLIS — In response to the sentencing of Derek Chauvin to 22.5 years in custody for second degree murder, the following is a statement from Mirella Ceja-Orozco and Elizer Darris, Co-Executive Directors of the Minnesota Freedom Fund:
“The 22-and-a-half year sentence that Derek Chauvin received for murdering George Floyd won’t heal the grief that the killing continues to cause for his family and friends, our city, and the entire country. Still, it is a rare example of a police officer being held accountable for violence committed against a Black man, and we commend the prosecutors and jurors who tried to bring about a modicum of justice in this case.
Still, we must be clear-eyed about the fact that the killing of George Floyd and its aftermath highlighted the ongoing and systemic racism that is embedded in our law enforcement and criminal justice systems. Black people die at the hands of police far too often, and people of color are jailed more often, held for longer, and forced to pay higher bails than white residents. Black people comprise 7% of Minnesota’s population, but 31% of the prison and jail population. It is a fundamentally broken system, and it needs to be remade to ensure that it is fairer and more humane. Millions of people took to the streets after George Floyd’s murder to say enough is enough and to demand lasting change. We are committed to doing everything in our power to dismantle racist and unjust systems, beginning with the cash bails and immigration bonds that criminalize poverty and take a disproportionate toll on communities of color.”