Minnesota prosecutors urged a judge to consider handing Derek Chauvin “an aggravated sentence” for the murder of George Floyd in a court filing on Friday (April 30).
In the court document, signed by Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, attorneys requested Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill to weigh five “aggravating factors” in Chauvin’s sentence beyond the usual range.
Those five factors are: Chauvin’s abuse of power, the presence of children when the murder took place, Chauvin’s “particular cruelty,” Floyd’s vulnerability, and the other officers who “actively participated in the crime.”
Floyd’s vulnerability, Ellison wrote, was due to the prone position Chauvin and the other three officers had Floyd in while he was handcuffed. “Defendant was trained that this position posed a significant risk of positional asphyxia,” the court document states. Chauvin knelt into Floyd’s neck for over nine minutes while Floyd “exclaimed 27 times that he could not breathe, and even as Mr. Floyd said that Defendant's actions were killing him,” Ellison wrote to point out Chauvin’s “particular cruelty.”
Chauvin’s defense attorney, Eric Nelson, filed a document in response, disputing the five aggravating factors laid out by prosecutors. Nelson said that Floyd was not vulnerable and that Chauvin didn’t display “particular cruelty.” Nelson added that the other officers involved in Floyd’s murder haven’t been convicted so that factor shouldn’t be considered. He added that the presence of children at the time of the murder should also not be considered in Chauvin’s sentencing.
For the second-degree murder charge, the highest of the charges, Chauvin faces up to 40 years. The former Minneapolis police officer is set to be sentenced in June after a jury convicted him on all three charges in Floyd’s murder last month.
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