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'Justice served, yeah, but he was still murdered' | Houstonians react to sentencing of Derek Chauvin

“He never had to be murdered. And we wouldn’t be having this conversation," said Brian Ellison. "Talk about justice, but like, that man should still be here."

HOUSTON — Within minutes of a Minnesota judge sentencing former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin to 22.5 years in prison, people began driving to Houston-area murals of Third Ward native George Floyd.

At a Floyd mural at the corner of Chartres and Bell in east downtown, a van full of middle school-aged girls pulled up. They were participants of Camp Lydia, and they stopped to snap a photo. So did Jackie Guevara and her fiancé Cameron Bennett.

“Doesn’t seem fair,” said Guevara of Chauvin’s prison sentence.

“I would hope that they would give him more considering he murdered somebody,” said Bennett, “in front of everybody when his job was supposed to be protecting lives.”

“I’m hoping what happens today reflects accountability,” said Brian Ellison in the hours leading up to the judge’s sentence of Chauvin, who was found guilty in April of second degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter for his role in Floyd's May 2020 death.

Ellison is among the Houston-area artists who’s painted a mural of Floyd. Ellison’s artwork can be found on a shipping container along Elgin at Emancipation in the Third Ward.

Ellison chose to depict Floyd cradled in his mother’s arms.

“It gives people more of a human aspect," Ellison said.

An aspect Ellison hopes more Americans consider as the nation continues to move forward from Floyd’s death which was captured on cellphone video.

“We must continue to push with their name in mind so that justice is served and so these types of things don’t happen anymore,” Ellison said. “I mean you want to have faith in the justice system.”

It’s why Naomi Carrier, CEO of the Texas Center for African American Living History, is working to share the history and culture of Houston’s Third Ward.

“My self-appointed mission is to save a generation and leave a footprint," Carrier said.

She says murals of Floyd matter because “we need to keep that in people’s faces.”

“Imagine a world where he never had to perish,” said Ellison of Floyd. “He never had to be murdered. And we wouldn’t be having this conversation. Talk about justice but like, that man should still be here. His daughter should be able to still be able to hug her dad. And so like justice served, yeah. but he was still murdered. He’s not here.”