Chauvin Judge Clears Way for Longer Sentence in Floyd’s Death

May 12, 2021, 5:04 PM

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin could receive a prison sentence longer than recommended by state guidelines for the killing of George Floyd, the trial judge found in an order made public Wednesday.

Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill cited facts supporting an “aggravated durational departure” from the guidelines, clearing the way for him to exceed them. A jury April 20 convicted Chauvin of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and manslaughter in the death of Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man.

The state guidelines have an average sentence of 12.5 years in prison for the convictions. Cahill’s findings don’t require him to exceed the guidelines, but under state law the conviction on second-degree murder alone carries a maximum sentence of 40 years.

Chauvin’s sentencing is scheduled for June 25.

Cahill—who presided over Chauvin’s three-week trial—found that Chauvin abused “a position of trust and authority” and treated Floyd “with particular cruelty,” during the May 25, 2020, arrest and killing. He also said that Chauvin “committed the crime as a group” with participation from three other former officers—Tou Thao, J. Kueng, and Thomas Lane—who were seen on a viral video assisting in the arrest and failing to help Floyd.

Those former officers are slated to be tried in August.

Cahill also noted that children were present during Floyd’s killing, when Chauvin knelt on his neck for more than nine minutes after Floyd was accused of passing a counterfeit bill at a convenience store.

Following his conviction on state charges, Chauvin was indicted May 7 by a federal grand jury on charges of violating Floyd’s constitutional rights.

—with assistance from Jordan Rubin.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ayanna Alexander in Washington at aalexander@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Gregory Henderson at ghenderson@bloombergindustry.com

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