Minneapolis, Minnesota, Judge Peter Cahill ruled in favor of prosecutors seeking a harsher jail sentence for Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer convicted of murdering George Floyd, agreeing that Chauvin “abused his authority” during Floyd’s arrest and showed “particular cruelty” when he knelt on Floyd’s neck for nine minutes.
The ruling, made Tuesday, was in response to a request from Minneapolis prosecutors that Chauvin be given a harsher prison sentence than the 12 1/2-year term recommended under Minneapolis state sentencing guidelines.
As the Daily Wire reported earlier, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison petitioned the court for a longer prison term for Chauvin on the theory that Chauvin lacked remorse for his actions and that Chauvin had shown “particular cruelty” toward Floyd during Floyd’s detention.
“Mr. Floyd was treated with particular cruelty,” Ellison wrote in his brief, filed with the court in early May, “Defendant continued to maintain his position atop Mr. Floyd even as Mr. Floyd cried out that he was in pain, even as Mr. Floyd exclaimed 27 times that he could not breathe, and even as Mr. Floyd said that Defendant’s actions were killing him.”
“Chauvin, who is scheduled to be sentenced on June 25, faces up to 40 years in prison for second-degree unintentional murder,” according to The Washington Post. “Judge Peter Cahill would have to find there were ‘aggravating factors’ in Floyd’s death to go above the 12½-year sentence recommended under state sentencing guidelines for the murder charge of someone without a previous record. Prosecutors did not say in the filing how much time they are seeking Chauvin to serve.”
Cahill agreed with prosecutors in an order filed on Tuesday, finding that “Chauvin abused his authority as a police officer when he restrained Floyd last year and that he treated Floyd with particular cruelty,” per the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. “He also cited the presence of children when he committed the crime and the fact Chauvin was part of a group with at least three other people.”
The judge added that Floyd was restrained, in a “prone position” for an “inordinate amount of time.”
“The prolonged use of this technique was particularly egregious in that George Floyd made it clear he was unable to breathe and expressed the view that he was dying as a result of the officers’ restraint,” Cahill said in his order.
Chauvin was found guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter in connection with Floyd’s death, and will be sentenced on the second-degree murder charge — the most serious charge on which he was convicted.
“Under Minnesota sentencing guidelines, he would have faced a presumptive sentence of 12 1/2 years on that count, and Cahill could have sentenced him to as little as 10 years and eight months or as much as 15 years and still stayed within the guideline range,” the Star-Tribune noted Thursday.
“With Tuesday’s ruling, Cahill has given himself permission to sentence Chauvin above the guideline range, though he doesn’t have to,” an expert told the outlet, which added that Chauvin is still unlikely to receive a sentence of more than 30 years in prison.
Chauvin will likely face a second trial, however, this time on federal civil rights charges. A grand jury indicted Chauvin and the three other officers involved in Floyd’s arrest on federal charges late last week, according to the Daily Wire.
“Chauvin is charged with violating Floyd’s right to be free from unreasonable seizure and unreasonable force by a police officer. Thao and Kueng are also charged with violating Floyd’s right to be free from unreasonable seizure, alleging they did not intervene to stop Chauvin as he knelt on Floyd’s neck. All four officers are charged for their failure to provide Floyd with medical care,” per The Associated Press.
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