Prosecutors seek more severe sentence for Chauvin than in state guidelines

Prosecutors are seeking a more severe sentence for Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis Police officer convicted of second-degree murder and other charges in the death of George Floyd.

Floyd died last year in police custody after Chauvin kneeled on his neck for over nine minutes outside of a Minneapolis convenience store.

Following Floyd's death, Chauvin was removed from the police for and charged in connection to the killing. The former officer's trial began earlier this year, and lasted for three weeks.

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On April 20, a jury found Chauvin guilty of second- and third- degree murder, as well as second-degree manslaughter. The jury took ten hours to deliberate.

Chauvin will only be sentenced for the most serious charge against him, second-degree murder, according to The Associated Press. The charge carries a maximum of 40 years in prison, though he would most likely be sentenced to 12.5 years.

However, in court documents on Friday, prosecutors did not specify the range of sentencing they seek, but said that five “aggravated factors” exist for Chauvin to get beyond the maximum penalty. 

Prosecutors argued in the documents that Chauvin should receive a tougher sentencing because Floyd was a “vulnerable” victim, noting that he was pinned down as Floyd knelt on his neck. They added that Chauvin continued to kneel on Floyd’s neck despite Floyd saying he couldn’t breathe 27 times before coming unresponsive.

The brief also notes that Floyd was “treated with particular cruelty,” given that Chauvin continued to kneel on the man's neck despite pleas from Floyd and bystanders.

Prosecutors further stated that Chauvin abused his position of authority, and noted that three other officers at the scene — J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane, and Tou Thao — “actively participated in the crime.” 

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The brief also notes that the incident occurred “in the presence of multiple children.” Four of the witnesses at Chauvin’s trial were minors at the time of Floyd’s death, one of which was four years old.

But Chauvin’s attorneys argued in separate filings that Floyd’s death “occurred in the course of a very short time, involved no threats or taunting, such as putting a gun to his head and pulling the trigger.”

They also argued that Floyd was struggling with officers as they tried to arrest him, and that there was no reason for Chauvin to be aware that Floyd was vulnerable.

Chauvin is scheduled to be sentenced on June 25.