Ruling paves way for longer sentence for Derek Chauvin

Former US policeman could face longer sentence for Floyd murder

Judge Peter Cahill ruled Wednesday that there were four factors in George Floyd's death that allow him to give former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin a longer sentence.

CNN reports the judge listed those factors as Chauvin abused a position of trust and authority, he treated Floyd with particular cruelty, that children were present, and that Chauvin committed the crime with a group.

"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", Cahill said. Under Minnesota guidelines, he would have faced at least 12 years for second-degree murder.

The other former officers who were at the scene have been charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in Floyd's death and are set to go on trial on August 23.

The most serious charge that Chauvin was convicted of - second-degree murder - carries a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison.

Chauvin's sentencing is scheduled for June 25. But Cahill acknowledged concerns about giving them a fair trial, and he noted that jury questionnaires have not yet been sent to potential members of the jury that will hear the state's case.

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But prosecutors asked for what is known as an upward departure - arguing that Floyd was particularly vulnerable with his hands cuffed behind his back as he was face-down on the ground.

"We have to be able to listen to even those who are voiceless through their pain", he said.

But Cahill said one of the other officers twice checked Floyd's pulse and told Chauvin he detected none, while another officer suggested rolling Floyd to his side and said he was passing out. People demanding justice for George Floyd gathered tonight outside the Hennepin County Government Center, where the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin has been ongoing for the past two weeks.

Defense attorney Eric Nelson disagreed with the state, saying that prosecutors did not prove that there were aggravating factors.

In 2004, Floyd was convicted on a drug charge for an alleged sale of $10 of crack cocaine in Texas. A few of the witnesses who testified during the trial were under 18 at the time of Floyd's death.

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