Derek Chauvin’s sentencing is weeks away and the Minnesota attorney general is among those seeking an aggressive sentence for the former cop.
Chauvin was convicted in the May 2020 killing of George Floyd two weeks ago, found guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter.
Chauvin pressed his knee against Floyd’s neck for nine and a half minutes as Floyd complained of trouble breathing and eventual became motionless.
In paperwork filed with the judge on Friday, Attorney General Keith Ellison asked for an ‘aggravated sentence’ on behalf of the state, citing several factors in the memorandum.
Those factors include Floyd’s vulnerable position on the ground, that he was treated with ‘particular cruelty,’ Chauvin’s abuse of authority, the presence of at least four children, and that Chauvin ‘committed the crime as part of a group of three or more persons who all actively participated in the crime.’
Minnesota AG Keith Ellison is seeking an ‘aggravated sentence’ for Derek Chauvin
Derek Chauvin was convicted in the death of George Floyd nearly two weeks ago
Chauvin was convicted of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter, though he will only be sentenced on the most severe charge
In regards to the ‘particular cruelty,’ Ellison argues Chauvin ‘continued to maintain his position atop Mr. Floyd even as Mr. Floyd cried out that he was in pain, even as Mr. Floyd exclaimed 27 times that he could not breathe, and even as Mr. Floyd said that Defendant’s actions were killing him.’
In the memorandum, Ellison notes that only one aggravating factor needs to be proven to justify an aggravated sentence.
‘The State respectfully requests that the Court find the facts necessary to support the existence of all five aggravating factors and state those facts on the record,’ the memorandum concludes.
George Floyd was killed when Chauvin pressed his knee on Floyd’s neck for over nine minutes
Chauvin could face up to 40 years in prison, though he’ll likely be sentenced to less than hal of that based on Minnesota’s sentencing guidelines
‘Based on these aggravating factors, the State respectfully requests an upward sentencing departure in this case.’
Prosecutors did not specify how long they want Chauvin’s sentence to last.
USA Today reports defense attorney Eric Nelson is opposing a tougher sentence for Chauvin, claiming the state has not proven the aggravating factors.
‘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 said.
Because of Minnesota law, Chauvin will only be sentenced for second-degree murder, the most serious charge.
He could be sentenced to up to 40 years in prison, but based on his clean record, he’s more likely to be sentenced to 10-15 years under Minnesota sentencing guidelines, unless aggravating factors can be proven.
Pictured: Derek Chauvin during the incident that ended George Floyd’s life
The other cops involved in Floyd’s death will face trial in August
Just last week, Ellison told 60 Minutes host Scott Pelley his initial reaction upon hearing the guilty verdict was ‘gratitude, humility,’ followed by sympathy for Chauvin.
‘I will admit, I felt a little bad for the defendant,’ Ellison told the CBS current affairs show. ‘I think he deserved to be convicted. But he’s a human being.’
During that interview, Ellison also suggested that he didn’t want an especially harsh sentence for Chauvin.
‘I think it is important for the court to not go light or heavy. I don’t know if it’s right for a judge to send a message through a sentence because the sentence should be tailored to the offense, tailored to the circumstances of the case,’ Ellison told 60 Minutes.
Ellison previously stated that he ‘felt a little bad for the defendant’ after Chauvin’s conviction
Last week, Ellison also told The Star Tribune that there wasn’t much celebrating after Chauvin’s conviction.
‘It’s sad, very sad,’ said Ellison. ‘One man’s dead and another man’s going to prison for a long time.’
Chauvin is currently in Oak Park Heights prison – Minnesota’s only maximum security facility – and will be sentenced on June 16.
Prosecutors will be back in court in August, pursuing convictions against three other officers involved in Floyd’s fatal arrest: J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane, and Tou Thao.