Judge’s Ruling That Derek Chauvin Treated George Floyd With 'Particular Cruelty' Could Lead to Longer Sentence

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Image via Getty/Jason Armond/Los Angeles Times

Derek Chauvin treated George Floyd with “particular cruelty” during his fatal May 2020 arrest, the judge who presided over the former Minneapolis cop’s trial said in a new ruling.

Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill said in a ruling signed on Tuesday that the court had pinpointed multiple facts that support an aggravated durational departure, which means the eventual sentence can go beyond the usual guideline range.

“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 said in his ruling.

The facts the court determined in the new ruling to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt are as follows:

  • Defendant abused a position of trust and authority.

  • Defendant treated George Floyd with particular cruelty.

  • Children were present during the commission of the offense

  • Defendant committed the crime as a group with the active participation of at least three other persons.

Chauvin was found guilty in April of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter in the killing of Floyd. Statutes in Minnesota, per the Associated Press, require that Chauvin be sentenced on only the most serious of the charges, with state guidelines showing he could have been sentenced to up to 15 years.

Prosecutors had called for an upward departure, meaning a sentence longer than what’s found within the guideline range. Cahill’s ruling this week means he can potentially sentence Chauvin beyond the guideline range. First up, however, is a pre-sentencing investigation. Chauvin’s sentencing is currently set to take place in June. Chauvin, as reported earlier this month, has asked for a new trial.

Chauvin and three other former Minneapolis Police Department officers were recently indicted on federal civil rights charges over Floyd’s murder. A federal grand jury said the officers had “willfully deprived Mr. Floyd of his constitution rights” during the arrest, with Chauvin also confirmed to be facing a separate indictment over a violent 2017 incident during which he allegedly grabbed a 14-year-old “by the throat.”

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