George Floyd Square reacts with mixed feelings


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MINNEAPOLIS — When Derek Chauvin was convicted on all three counts of murder and manslaughter in the death of George Floyd in April, the large crowd at the 38th and Chicago intersection burst into tears, but when Chauvin was sentenced to 22 1/2 years in prison Friday, a much smaller crowd gathered At the memorial known as George Floyd Square his reaction was even more muted, and Marcia Howard, a former teacher and organizer who can be found in the square nearly every day, led the crowd in chants of Floyd’s name and “one down, three to go,” referring to the officers Others accused in Floyd’s death. Behind her, a calendar hung on a speedway gas pump with the trial date of Thomas Lin, Ji Kong and Tou Thao, Chauvin, 45, who would have received up to 30 years in prison, is expected to serve some 15 years behind bars. “I was expecting 30 years,” said Holly Marshall, who lives four blocks from the field. “When we get our hopes up, we are always disappointed and people of color will never get justice.” Some, like Jennifer Starr-Dodd, were frustrated, Chauvin offered his “condolences” to Floyd’s family but did not offer an apology for his actions. “I really wish he hadn’t said anything at all,” she said. “That was a slap in the face. He should have stayed calm and was expected to be better received.” While she doesn’t think Chauvin’s sentence was harsh enough, Star Dodd’s wife, Gia Starr Brown, a priest, said she hoped it would make up Floyd’s case. A precedent for future cases of police brutality, she said, “I’m glad there’s some accountability.” “I’m choosing to celebrate, I’m going to keep partying.” Analysis: “White America can keep kicking Derek Chauvin,” but what does that mean for systemic change? The city was in On alert since Floyd was killed more than a year ago during an attempted arrest in front of Cup Foods.Video of a protester of Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck as the handcuffed man repeatedly said he couldn’t breathe sparked weeks of protest in Minneapolis and around the world, and the former Minneapolis police officer was convicted of three Manslaughter and manslaughter charges were charged in April for the killing of Floyd Chauvin’s verdict may provide some closure, but it’s not the end of the legal battle: An appeal in the case is almost certain. The other three officers who were dismissed from work involved in his death will not stand trial until March indicted to the men All four are charged with federal charges of violating Floyd’s civil rights. Some in the field, disappointed with the ruling, hope the federal trial will lead to a longer jail term for Chauvin. “At the end of the day, it’s not like that,” said Broderick Johnson, 38, who is visiting from Orlando, Florida. “It’s just a first step.” An intersection near Cup Foods closed to traffic shortly after Floyd’s death as activists quickly turned it into a memorial. The square became an almost sacred space for collective mourning, healing, and joy. Community members, still grieving after Floyd’s death and the recent police killing of Daunt Wright and Winston Smith Jr., have been at odds with the city’s leadership over the location. The future. Want more coverage? Subscribe to This Is America, USA TODAY’s newsletter about race and identity, crews removed concrete barriers, artwork and flowers and reopened the street to traffic this month. Some of the regulators who have occupied the venue since Floyd’s death believe it should remain closed until the city meets its list of 24 demands for justice. Seeing the dismantling of such a sacred space, it breaks my heart,” Star Dodd said. “As long as there is injustice, we will be here.” Contributing: The Associated Press, follow N’dea Yancey-Bragg on Twitter: @NdeaYanceyBragg


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