Sunday, 24 October, 2021

Ruling Paves Way for Longer Sentence in George Floyd's Death

Minnesota judge finds aggravating factors in George Floyd murder Chauvin Faces Tougher Sentence After Judge Finds Aggravating Circumstances in Floyd's Death
Deanna Wagner | 12 May, 2021, 22:31

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 on the neck and back of Floyd, handcuffed and lying prone on the street, for 9 minutes and 29 seconds. Floyd, 46, a Black father, repeatedly said he couldn't breathe.

It has been proven beyond reasonable doubt that Chauvin used unreasonable force in restraining Floyd on the ground outside Cup Foods, Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill ruled in a May 11 order made public on Wednesday, citing how jurors convicted Chauvin of three counts, including second-degree murder.

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

Prosecutors on April 30 asked Cahill to consider several aggravating circumstances in Floyd's death so that he could make "an upward sentencing departure" in the case. "Both sides will argue on whether a departure is appropriate, and how long it should be". These are usually nonpublic and include highly personal information such as family history and mental health issues, as well as details of the offence and the harm it caused others and the community. The ruling also found that Chauvin committed his crime as part of a group with the active participation of at least three other officers and acted with children present, including a 9-year-old girl and her 17-year-old cousin whose cellphone video of Floyd's arrest brought global attention to his death.

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Volunteers prepare beds inside the newly-built hall for Covid-19 patients, at NESCO, Goregaon, on May 3, 2021 in Mumbai, India. Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government is reluctant to impose a national lockdown for fear of the economic fallout.

The judge said Floyd was treated by Chauvin with "particular cruelty".

The ruling by Judge Peter Cahill stated that the police officer abused his authority by not rendering aid and preventing bystanders from assistance, while also treating the detainee with "particular cruelty".

"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", Cahill wrote.

Eric Nelson, Chauvin's attorney, did not respond to a request for comment. He also said Floyd was not particularly vulnerable, saying he was a large man who was struggling with officers. The charge carries a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison. Chauvin notoriously knelt on Floyd's neck for nearly 10 minutes before the captive lost consciousness. Minnesota convicts serve two-thirds of their sentence in jail and the other one-third outside of jail. Chauvin and the three other police officers who were at the scene were fired a day after Floyd's death.