MINNEAPOLIS — Judge Peter Cahill, who presided over former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin's trial in the murder of George Floyd earlier this year, has found aggravating factors in the case.
His ruling was made public Wednesday. It now allows for the possibility of more time in prison when Chauvin is sentenced next month.
Chauvin was convicted in April on murder and manslaughter charges for the May 25, 2020 death of Floyd. Under Minnesota guidelines, he would have faced at least 12 years for second-degree murder. However, prosecutors asked for what is called "upward departure," and argued Chauvin abused his authority as an officer and should receive a longer sentence than what would normally be recommended.
In Judge Cahill's ruling, he said there were four aggravating factors that were proven by prosecutors beyond a reasonable doubt. The first, that Chauvin abused a position of trust and authority. Second, Chauvin treated Floyd with particular cruelty.
In regard to this factor, the judge wrote that Floyd's manner of death, positional asphyxia while Chauvin knelt on his back and neck for more than nine minutes, "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."
Thirdly, Cahill ruled there were children present during the offense and that this was an aggravating factor. A few of the witnesses who testified during the trial were under 18 at the time of Floyd's death. And fourth, the judge ruled Chauvin committed the crime as a group with the active participation of at least three other people.
Three other officers who were present at the time of Floyd's death will face trial later this summer.