Derek Chauvin sentencing: What were the aggravating factors

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In this image taken from video, former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin, right, accompanied by defense attorney Eric Nelson, addresses the court as Hennepin County Judge PeterCahill presides over Chauvin’s sentencing, Friday, June 25, 2021, at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis (AP)
In this image taken from video, former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin, right, accompanied by defense attorney Eric Nelson, addresses the court as Hennepin County Judge PeterCahill presides over Chauvin’s sentencing, Friday, June 25, 2021, at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis (AP)

Derek Chauvin’s prison sentence of 22-and-a-half years for the murder of George Floyd was significantly less than Minnesota prosecutors had called for.

In arguing for a 30-year sentence for the May 2020 killing, the prosecution had argued that there were five aggravating factors.

This, they argued, meant Chauvin should get a much longer sentence than the average of 12.5 years that is given in the state for second-degree murder.

Last month Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill ruled that the prosecution had proven four of the factors.

Chauvin abused his position of trust and authority; he treated Chauvin with particular cruelty; he committed the crime in the presence of children; and he did it with the active participation of at least three other people.

The judge kept his comments at the sentencing on Friday deliberately brief and said that he would explain his ruling in a sentencing order.

When it was released after the hearing, Judge Cahill wrote that his decision to depart from the state sentencing guidelines and give Chauvin a longer sentence was based on just the first two factors.

The judge stated that Chauvin had killed Mr Floyd in a “manner that was particularly cruel and an abuse of his authority.”

“It was particularly cruel to kill George Floyd slowly by preventing his ability to breathe when Mr Floyd had already made it clear he was having trouble breathing,” wrote Judge Cahill.

He added that the former police officer had “manifested his indifference to Mr Floyd’s pleas for his life and his medical distress” by not aiding Mr Floyd, declining suggestions by two other officers to do that, and preventing bystanders from helping.

“Part of the mission of the Minneapolis Police Department is to give citizens ‘voice and respect,’” the judge added.

“Here, Mr Chauvin, rather than pursuing the MPD mission, treated Mr Floyd without respect and denied him the dignity owed to all human beings and which he certainly would have extended to a friend or neighbor.”

He added that Mr Floyd “was begging for his life and obviously terrified by the knowledge that he was likely to die” but that Chauvin “remained indifferent” to those pleas for help.

Chauvin will have to serve two-thirds of his sentence, around 15 years, before he can serve the remainder on supervised release.

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