Judge to consider longer sentence for Derek Chauvin

Derek Chauvin's latest mugshot after he was booked into prison following his conviction. (Minnesota Dept. of Corrections)

Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill said he will consider an upward departure from the sentencing guidelines for former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin after finding aggravating factors in George Floyd's death, according to an order made public Wednesday. 

Last month, a jury found Chauvin guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in Floyd’s May 25, 2020 death. Under Minnesota statutes, Chauvin will only be sentenced for the most serious charge, second-degree unintentional murder, which according to the state's sentencing guidelines has a presumptive sentence of 12 1/2 years in prison. 

Prosecutors filed a request for an aggravated sentence for Chauvin, arguing there are five aggravating factors that warrant an increased sentence.  

In his ruling, Cahill said he found the four of the five factors supported an aggravated durational departure "beyond a reasonable doubt":  

  • Chauvin abused his position of authority as a police officer when he used unreasonable force during Floyd's arrest and failed to provide him medical care once he was unresponsive and had stopped breathing.
  • Floyd was treated with particular cruelty. Cahill wrote that Floyd’s slow death while Chauvin was kneeling on Floyd’s neck and back 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 Chauvin remained indifferent to his pleas.
  • The crime happened in front of children. Three of the bystanders on the sidewalk were 17 at the time, including Darnella Frazier, who filmed the viral video of Floyd's death, and one was a 9-year-old girl.
  • Chauvin committed the crime as part of a group of three other people. The three other officers involved are also charged in Floyd's death: Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane.

Based on his findings, Cahill could sentence Chauvin to up to 40 years in prison, however, experts say he is unlikely to get more than 30 years. 

Chauvin will be sentenced on June 25.