The Minnesota judge who will sentence Derek Chauvin has identified multiple aggravating factors in George Floyd’s murder — an indication that the ex-cop will face significant prison time.
According to the Star Tribune, Hennepin County judge Peter Cahill wrote that Chauvin “abused a position of trust and authority” as a police officer and “treated Floyd with particular cruelty.” The judge wrote listed other aggravating factors, including the presence of children during the fatal May 2020 incident and the fact that Chauvin committed the crime with “active participation” of others — specifically fellow Minneapolis police officers Thomas Lane, 37, J. Alexander Kueng, 26, and Tou Thao, 34.
Cahill concluded that Chauvin abused his authority by not rendering aid to Floyd even as bystanders pointed out he was dying. He also found that Chauvin continued to kneel on Floyd after another officer checked Floyd’s pulse twice and found none.
“The prolonged use of this technique [prone position] 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,” the judge also wrote, per the Star Tribune.
“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.”
The judge rejected an argument that Floyd was “particularly vulnerable,” finding that Floyd, though handcuffed, still managed to resist arrest before he was placed in a prone position, the Star-Tribune reported.
While Chauvin was convicted of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter, he will only be sentenced for the most serious charge, which is second-degree murder. Reports indicated that now that Cahill has established aggravating factors, the maximum sentence Chauvin would face is 30 years.
Last week, a federal grand jury indicted the four officers for violating Floyd’s civil rights. Chauvin was also indicted for violating the civil rights of a 14-year-old boy he allegedly struck with a flashlight, held by the throat, and knelt on for 17 minutes during a 2017 arrest.
Chauvin’s sentencing is scheduled for June 16. If convicted of the federal charges, Chauvin will serve the federal and state sentences concurrently, according to the Associated Press.
Lane, Kueng, and Thao are awaiting trial for aiding and abetting Chauvin. Their joint trial is scheduled to begin on August 23.
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[Featured image: Derek Chauvin/Hennepin County jail; George Floyd/Facebook]