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

Joanna Estrada
May 13, 2021

Judge Peter Cahill ruled Wednesday that prosecutors had proven four out of five aggravating factors in the case "beyond a reasonable doubt", WCCO reports.

Defendant treated George Floyd with particular cruelty.

Chauvin is scheduled to be sentence on 25 June. Floyd's death, captured on widely seen bystander video, set off demonstrations around the United States and beyond as protesters demanded changes in policing.

A U.S. judge on Thursday postponed the trial of three former Minneapolis policemen charged in the killing of George Floyd to March 2022 in order to let a federal prosecution against them go ahead first.

Even though Chauvin was found guilty of three counts, under Minnesota statutes he'll only be sentenced on the most serious one - second-degree murder.

White ex-officer Derek Chauvin, 45, was convicted in April of murdering African American Floyd previous year in a case that prompted a national reckoning on racial injustice and police brutality. Cahill said the factors he will consider when sentencing the former Minneapolis police officer include his abuse of authority, the fact that he "treated George Floyd with particular cruelty", the presence of children, and that Chauvin committed the crime with the "active participation" of at least three other people. However, prosecutors asked for what is called "upward departure", and argued Chauvin abused his authority as an officer and should receive a longer sentence that what would normally be recommended.

With Tuesday's ruling, Cahill has given himself permission to sentence Chauvin above the guideline range, though he doesn't have to, said Mark Osler, professor at the University of St. Thomas School of Law. First up, however, is a pre-sentencing investigation.

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

It was unknown when Cahill would rule on that motion. He also argued that the verdict was contrary to the law. Minnesota convicts serve two-thirds of their sentence in jail and the other one-third outside of jail. A federal grand jury said the officers had "willfully deprived Mr. Floyd of his constitution rights" during the arrest, with Chauvin also confirmed to be facing a separate indictment over a violent 2017 incident during which he allegedly grabbed a 14-year-old "by the throat".

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

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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