Chauvin Faces Tougher Sentence After Judge Finds Aggravating Circumstances in Floyd's Death

Alonzo Simpson
May 13, 2021

"The renewed movement for racial justice and healing that began in the streets of Minneapolis after the murder of George Floyd, and quickly spread throughout the country and around the world, has inspired a deeper awakening to the ways systemic racism form the very foundations of the institutions they make up our common life, including our church", said Loya in a press release issued by the Diocese of MI, whose bishop helped organize the service.

Children hold signs while people react after the verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin.

Judge Peter Cahill ruled Wednesday that prosecutors had proven four out of five aggravating factors in the case "beyond a reasonable doubt", WCCO reports. He is scheduled to be sentenced on June 25.

Chauvin was convicted in April on murder and manslaughter charges for the May 25, 2020 death of Floyd.

Another aggravating factor, the judge said, was that children were present and "observed Mr. Floyd being asphyxiated as he begged for his life".

As a first-time offender, Chauvin had potentially faced 12 and a half years in prison on that count under state sentencing guidelines. And fourth, the judge ruled Chauvin committed the crime as a group with the active participation of at least three other people.

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Attorneys for Floyd's family applauded Cahill's ruling.

In finding that Chauvin treated Floyd with particular cruelty, Cahill wrote: "The slow death of George Floyd occurring over approximately six minutes of his positional asphyxia was particularly cruel in that Mr. Floyd was begging for his life and obviously terrified by the knowledge that he was likely to die but during which the Defendant objectively remained indifferent to Mr. Floyd's pleas". The judge also said he wants to put distance between the state trial and the massive publicity that surrounded Derek Chauvin's murder trial - which Cahill also oversaw. "The State therefore respectfully requests that the Court find the facts necessary to support the existence of these five aggravating factors, and that the Court impose an aggravated sentence on that basis", prosecutors said in the filing. He faces a combined maximum 75 years in prison if the sentences run consecutively.

Prosecutors had called for an upward departure, meaning a sentence longer than what's found within the guideline range.

Mr Cahill disagreed with prosecutor's fifth point, which was that Mr Floyd was a "particularly vulnerable victim".

Chauvin and three other former Minneapolis Police Department officers were recently indicted on federal civil rights charges over Floyd's murder.

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