Citing aggravating factors, including committing the crime in the presence of children, prosecutors have asked a judge to sentence former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin to 30 years in prison for the murder of George Floyd.
“The State respectfully requests a sentence of 360 months, or 30 years, for Defendant Derek Chauvin, a former police officer convicted by a jury of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter in connection with the death of George Floyd,” prosecutors led by Attorney General Keith Ellison noted in a sentencing brief filed Wednesday.
“Such a sentence would properly account for the profound impact of Defendant’s conduct on the victim, the victim’s family, and the community. Defendant brutally murdered Mr. Floyd, abusing the authority conferred by his badge. His actions traumatized Mr. Floyd’s family, the bystanders who watched Mr. Floyd die, and the community. And his conduct shocked the Nation’s conscience. No sentence can undo the damage Defendant’s actions have inflicted. But the sentence the Court imposes must hold Defendant fully accountable for his reprehensible conduct."
Floyd, a 46-year-old African American man, died in police custody on May 25, 2020, after he was restrained for several minutes by Minneapolis Police Department officers. Chauvin was caught on video kneeling into Floyd’s neck as he begged for his life until he stopped breathing despite passersby and other eyewitnesses begging him to stop.
The Minneapolis Police Department said in a statement that officers had responded to a call about a man suspected of forgery. Authorities were told someone tried to pay with a fake $20 bill at Cup Foods.
The video of Floyd’s death sparked international protests and calls for justice from many, including Christian leaders.
On April 20, a jury found Chauvin guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter for Floyd’s death at the end of an emotional trial.
In their arguments seeking twice the upper end of the presumptive sentencing range for Chauvin’s crime, prosecutors cited four aggravating factors for their recommendation.
They contend that Chauvin abused a position of trust and authority, acted with particular cruelty, acted in concert with three other individuals who all actively participated in the crime and committed the offenses in the presence of children.
“The Minnesota Supreme Court has made clear that where one or more aggravating factors are present, the district court can impose a sentence up to ‘double the upper limit of the presumptive range,'" the prosecutors argued.
"Here, the existence of four separate aggravating factors reflects the seriousness of Defendant’s conduct. The severity of several of these aggravating factors — this Court found that Defendant’s abuse of his position of trust and authority was ‘egregious,’ and that multiple aspects of Defendant’s conduct were ‘particularly cruel.'"
According to the document, the presumptive sentencing range for the second-degree unintentional murder conviction is 128 to 180 months.
"The State therefore respectfully requests that the Court sentence Defendant to 360 months, or 30 years, in prison,” the document states.
In another brief filed Wednesday, Chauvin’s defense team asked the court to sentence him to probation, limit his incarceration to “time served,” or consider an incarceration period lower than the presumptive sentencing range for his crime.
“There is no evidence that the assault perpetrated by Mr. Chauvin against Mr. Floyd involved a gratuitous infliction of pain or cruelty not usually associated with the commission of the offense in question," Chauvin’s attorney Eric J. Nelson wrote. "The infliction of substantial bodily injury necessarily causes pain. The assault of Mr. Floyd 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, … and ended when EMS finally responded to officers’ calls."
Nelson argued that the "requisite substantial and compelling circumstances for a downward dispositional departure are present in this case." He urged the court to "grant its motions and impose a probationary sentence" and limit "incarceration to time served, or in the alternative, a downward durational departure."
Chauvin's sentencing hearing is scheduled for June 25.