A judge in Minnesota ruled that George Floyd’s death was aggravated, paving the way for a further sentence against Derek Chauvin, the officer found responsible for the murder.
Miami World / telemundo51
In the ruling published Wednesday, Judge Peter Cahill found that the agent abused his authority as a police officer when he restrained Floyd in May of last year, and that he treated him with particular cruelty.
Despite the judge’s decision, experts agree that Chauvin is unlikely to be sentenced to more than 30 years in prison. The judge will announce the sentence on June 25.
Chauvin, white, was found guilty in April of manslaughter for putting a knee on Floyd’s neck for nine and a half minutes while trying to arrest him, and while Floyd, who was black, exclaimed that he could not breathe.
Although there are three charges against Chauvin, the Minnesota penal code stipulates that he can be sentenced only for the most serious, that is, involuntary manslaughter. Under Minnesota rules, the charge carries a sentence of 12 1/2 years, and Cahill could sentence him to as little as 10 years and eight months, or as little as 15 years, and would still be within the parameters set by local jurisdiction.
But the prosecution requested a harsher sentence, arguing that Floyd was in a particular situation at the time: face down and with his hands handcuffed behind his back. They noted that Chauvin remained undaunted even after Floyd became immobile and officers confirmed that he had no pulse.
The prosecution further argued that Chauvin treated Floyd with particular cruelty because of the long time he held him immobile, and that he caused Floyd and the witnesses to the event unnecessary pain and psychological trauma. They added that Chauvin abused his authority as a police officer, committed the crime as part of a group of three or more people, and stepped on Floyd in the presence of minors, including a 9-year-old girl who testified during the trial. that the scene left her “sad and somewhat angry.”