The Minnesota judge who oversaw the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former police officer found guilty of murdering George Floyd, has found aggravating factors that could lead to him receiving a longer sentence.
A jury found Chauvin guilty last month of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the killing of Floyd.
He is scheduled for sentencing in June.
On Wednesday, Judge Peter Cahill ruled that Chauvin abused a position of trust and authority, and he treated Floyd 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.
He decreed that Chauvin committed the crime as part of a group with at least three other people and that children were present during the commission of the offense.
The maximum sentence for second-degree murder is 40 years, but state sentencing guidelines recommend 12.5 years in prison for a conviction on unintentional second-degree murder for someone with no criminal history.
Cahill agreed with prosecutors, other than their argument that Floyd was particularly vulnerable. “Restraining George Floyd in the prone position with the weight of three police officers on him for a prolonged period did not create a vulnerability that was exploited to cause death; it was the actual mechanism causing death,” Cahill wrote.
Former Minneapolis police officers — J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao — will be tried together in a trial beginning Aug. 23.
Chauvin is also facing a civil rights charge in the violent arrest of a 14-year-old in 2017. Prosecutors allege Chauvin struck the boy with a flashlight and knelt on his back and neck for 17 minutes. The convicted murderer is accused of using his authority as an officer to deprive the teen of his rights.