MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Legal experts say it's unlikely that the four men convicted and ordered to pay for setting fire to a Minneapolis police station during protests over the death of George Floyd will meet their financial obligations.
Four defendants have been sentenced to federal prison for their roles in starting the fire. They were also ordered to collectively pay $12 million in restitution to the city of Minneapolis.
Experts say they are unlikely to foot the entire bill, the Star Tribune reported.
“I doubt that the judge expects that any one of these defendants has $12 million lying around,” said Mark Osler, a former federal prosecutor who teaches at the University of St. Thomas School of Law.
The U.S. Department of Justice recovers only $1 out of every $10 owed per year, making restitution sometimes symbolic or a mere formality in a criminal sentence, according to a report from the Congressional Research Service.
Even so, big-dollar restitutions may serve to force the defendant to come to grips with the harm they caused, said Steve Schleicher, former assistant U.S. attorney in Minnesota who helped secure a murder conviction for former officer Derek Chauvin. He said it may cause someone else to think twice before committing a similar crime
Floyd, a Black man in handcuffs, died May 25 after Chauvin, who is white, knelt on his neck. The death set off protests around the world.