Photo by Levi Meir Clancy on Unsplash

On June 25, Derek Chauvin was sentenced to 22.5 years for killing George Floyd. That’s a long time. I can’t say what he deserved and what he didn’t, but if I were him, I’d speak out — give the world a look at his childhood, how he was raised, what he was taught, and how he developed his hatred, biases, or whatever evil he holds. That’s the least he could do to rectify what he did. He could tell us who he was before he developed his hatred, how he developed his hatred, and who he truly is. Then maybe some people will try to understand and forgive him. That would be a good way for him to do his time — talking, writing and praying. 

The following are comments from people I interviewed about Chauvin’s sentence:

“Derek Chauvin should’ve received more time. He needs to be in protective custody — but there are people over there who may want to harm him, too. He needs to find a group of white men who are just as racist as he is to hang out with… and the other officers are just as guilty.”
Ms. L, food service employee

“I can’t really comment on his sentencing because I really don’t know all of the facts. But Chauvin’s actions were negligent. Once Mr. Floyd was handcuffed, on the ground, and saying he couldn’t breathe, it was the officer’s obligation to take care of him, not to add affliction to Floyd. Just like it’s my job as a corrections officer. For example, if a fight happens and I restrain an inmate and he starts to ask for medical, I have to get him to health care. That’s just how it is. Once Floyd was in Chauvin’s custody, his job became to assure [Floyd] was safe.”
Mr. V, corrections officer

“Should’ve got more time. He needs to be put in general population… see how he does.”
Mr. F, food service employee

“Twenty-two-and-a-half years is a long time, but he should have received the maximum penalty. He’s just like anybody else; he’s not above the law, and his sentencing proved that. As far as prison, he’ll be in protective custody so he has nothing to worry about.”
Mrs. O, chaplain 

“Oh man. Chauvin makes people like me look bad. He got less than what he deserved. My advice on how he should navigate prison would be for him to wear tight underwear.”
Mr. M, corrections officer

“Due to the popularity of his case, he’s kind of ‘Hit.’ Prison is going to be very hard for him. P.C. [Protective custody], maybe.”
Mr. P, corrections officer

“He better be ready to put those martial arts skills to use.”
Roberto Acala, inmate

“He’s worthless. He needs to survive or give himself the death penalty.”
— Mr. D, corrections officer

“He should’ve got more than 22.5 years. He should’ve had the book thrown at him for what he did. He should be in PC [Protective custody].”
Seretia, nurse

“Really don’t want to be put out there. But here in our protective custody unit we have ex-judges, corrections officers, police officers, lawyers, and high-profile serial killers. So he’ll probably be placed in protection and he’ll be treated just like anyone else. No special treatment.”
— Anonymous corrections officer

“Twenty-two-and-a-half years is a long time. He could’ve received up to 40 years. So I guess it’s a little harsh, but he got a break. A harsh break.”
— Officer G, corrections officer

 
Disclaimer: The views in this article are those of the author. The Prison Journalism Project has verified the writer’s identity and basic facts such as the names of institutions mentioned. The work is lightly edited but has not been otherwise fact-checked.

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Christopher Reece

Christopher Reece is a writer incarcerated in Michigan. He has been in prison since he was 20 years old.