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

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin is placed in handcuffs watched by Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill after a jury found him guilty on all counts in his trial for second-degree murder third-degree murder and second-degree mansla

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

In his ruling, Judge Peter Cahill found that Chauvin abused his authority as a police officer when he restrained Floyd previous year, and that he treated Floyd with particular cruelty.

Chauvin was found guilty of all the counts against him, but in Minnesota, a person convicted of multiple crimes for a single incident is typically only sentenced for the most severe charge.

In this case, state prosecutors asked for a tougher sentence than the recommendations provide, citing five aggravating factors they said applied.

The maximum sentence for that charge is 40 years, but state sentencing guidelines recommend 12.5 years in prison for a conviction on unintentional second-degree murder for someone with no criminal history.

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Derek Chauvin, a 17-year veteran of the Minneapolis police department, is to be sentenced on June 25 for Floyd's May 25, 2020 killing. They noted that Chauvin held his position even after Floyd became unresponsive and officers knew he had no pulse. He found that (1) Chauvin abused a position of trust and authority, and (2) he treated Floyd with particular cruelty. 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.

Cahill agreed with all but one of the prosecutors' arguments.

Eric Nelson, Chauvin's attorney, did not respond to a request for comment.

Chauvin's defence argued that the aggravating factors were unproved and that the defendant was legally authorised to use reasonable force. He also said Floyd was not particularly vulnerable, saying he was a large man who was struggling with officers.

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In late April, Derek Chauvin - a former Minnesota policeman - was found guilty of killing George Floyd in May previous year.

Chauvin was captured on video kneeling on the neck of 46-year-old Floyd for more than nine minutes until he passed out and died.

Chauvin was convicted on April 20 of murder and manslaughter for his role in Floyd's death, which sparked protests against racial injustice and police brutality around the world.

Three other former officers have been charged in Floyd's death on May 25 and are set to go on trial this summer.

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