SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) – Friday’s sentencing of Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd had many closely watching to see just how severe Chauvin’s punishment would be, including here in Sacramento.
“I am disappointed in the sentence, in the sense that I believe that he got a break, more because of who he was and what position he held and what color his skin is,” said Sacramento-based defense attorney Jennifer Mouzis.
Mouzis, a former prosecutor, said there is a clear double standard in the punishment of the former Minneapolis police officer.
“Because if we had an African American man, who put his knee on the neck of a white man, on tape, and apparently killed the white man, I guarantee he would have received more than 22.5 years,” Mouzis said.
For community activist Rashid Sadqe, Friday’s sentence was a good step in the right direction.
“I think it’s a welcome circumstance that he actually got sentenced, that he got convicted,” Sadqe said. “It’s not a life for a life, but it’s something, it’s a start.”
Sadqe, the co-founder of Law Enforcement Accountability Directive or LEAD, added pressure still needs to be applied to law enforcement.
“To do things different, and try to push the envelope and not give police officers or police unions so much power over their decisions,” Sadqe said.
So, what will this sentence of a former cop mean for possible similar cases involving law enforcement in the future? Local attorney and former federal public defender Mark Reichel said state and federal law don’t follow the same parameters in that regard.
“This does have some value as a kind of a benchmark, to say, ‘Hey, I know these facts got this sentence in Minneapolis, but each case is going to be different,'” Reichel said. “And every defense lawyer, defendant is going to ask for individualized justice.”
Sadqe said he and others will continue to advocate for police reform for past and future victims of police brutality regardless of Friday’s sentence.