CHICAGO, United States
Former Minneapolis, Minnesota police officer Derek Chauvin might face an even harsher punishment for the death of George Floyd, after a ruling from the trial judge on Wednesday.
Peter Cahill announced his decision regarding aggravating circumstances in the case and sided with prosecutors who want to tack on more years in prison.
Chauvin was convicted last month on three counts, including second-degree murder, in the 2020 death of Floyd — a killing that touched of worldwide demonstrations.
Cahill agreed that four aggravating factors cited by prosecutors should indeed apply to Chauvin’s sentencing.
They are that Chauvin abused his authority as a police officer; showed “particular cruelty” in kneeling on Floyd’s neck for more than 9 minutes, even as Floyd “was begging for his life”; children were present when Chauvin killed Floyd and Chauvin committed the murder as a group, with the “active participation” of three other officers.
That last point may not bode well for the three defendants who are charged with aiding and abetting Chauvin, although the judge said he was not determining whether they are guilty of a crime. The three officers are set to be tried in August.
Chauvin will be sentenced by Cahill on June 25 and could face anywhere from 12 and a half years to 40 years in prison.
The ruling makes it more likely Chauvin will face a punishment closer to the higher end.
Cahill rejected prosecutors’ aggravating factors claims that Floyd was “particularly vulnerable” or that his drug intoxication or being in a prone position on the ground made him “vulnerable.”
Instead, Cahill decided, the prone position was the mechanism of his death.