Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of murdering George Floyd, and because of his role as a public servant and the cruel inhumane nature of his crime was sentenced to 22.5 years in prison. A few years less than the 30 years recommended by the prosecutors. Of course, this sentence was a sharp and historic departure from the norm. Normally, police are not charged for taking the life of a citizen. Several law enforcement officers have been charged for killing people but even fewer convicted.
We have had our violent brush with police misconduct when Tulsa prosecutors charged former Tulsa police officer Betty Shelby for shooting unarmed Terence Crutcher in the back. She was found not guilty as a few jurors said they simply could not do what they knew was right.
Chauvin’s prison sentence is not the new norm, but it offers our nation – and Tulsa – a time to move forward with meaningful and substantial police reform that address deep-rooted issues of race and violence affecting police interactions with people of color.