Judge Peter Cahill, the judge who oversaw Derek Chauvin’s murder trial ruled Wednesday, May 11 that aggravating factors in the murder of George Floyd, provides for a harsher prison sentence than those previously considered.
Chauvin, the 45-year-old former Minneapolis Police officer, was convicted of two counts of murder and one count of manslaughter last month for kneeling Floyd’s neck, an unarmed Black man for 9 minutes and 29 seconds.
Chauvin could now face up to 40 years in prison for second-degree murder, up to 25 years for third-degree murder and up to 10 years for manslaughter. Since Chauvin had no prior criminal record, although there were a slew of excessive force complaints about the so Minnesota’s sentencing guidelines recommend about 12 and a half years in prison for each murder charge and about four years for the manslaughter charge.
In this case, state prosecutors asked for a tougher sentence than the recommendations provide, citing five aggravating factors they said applied. Chauvin’s defense attorney, Eric Nelson, said those factors did not apply.
Cahill found that four of the five factors for an extended sentence were proven beyond a reasonable doubt. He found that (1) Chauvin abused a position of trust and authority, and (2) he treated Floyd with particular cruelty.
Cahill also ruled that (3) children were present during the offense, and (4) Chauvin committed the crime as a group with the active participation of at least three other people.
On that fourth point, Judge Cahill wrote that three former officers — Tou Thao, Thomas Lane and Alexander Kueng — were actively involved in the incident, but he made no finding as to their intent or knowledge. They have each pleaded not guilty to charges of aiding and abetting.
However, Cahill rejected the aggravating factor that Floyd was “particularly vulnerable,” noting Floyd had initially resisted arrest. He also ruled that restraining Floyd in the prone position did not create a vulnerability but was instead the actual mechanism of his death.
Chauvin waived his right for the jury to decide the aggravating factors, instead opting for Judge Cahill to do so. His sentencing is set for June 25, and he is currently being held at the Minnesota Correctional Facility-Oak Park Heights.
The sentences for all three crimes would likely be served at the same time, not consecutively. “Generally, when an offender is convicted of multiple current offenses… concurrent sentencing is presumptive,” according to the guidelines.
Chauvin also was charged in a separate indictment related to an incident in which he allegedly used unreasonable force on a Minneapolis 14-year-old in September 2017, the Justice Department said in a statement