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Death of George Floyd: Prosecutors seek higher sentence for Derek Chauvin



Prosecutors are asking a judge to punish Derek Chauvin more severely than state guidelines when he is convicted in June of George Floyd’s death, arguing in court documents filed Friday that Floyd was particularly vulnerable and that Chauvin was abused his power as a police officer.

Defender Eric Nelson opposes a harsher sentence, saying the state failed to prove that these aggravating factors existed, among others, when Chauvin arrested Floyd on May 25.

Chauvin, who is white, was convicted last week of second-degree manslaughter, third-degree murder and manslaughter for pressing a knee to Floyd’s neck for 9 1/2 minutes because the black man said he couldn̵

7;t breathe and remained motionless.

FILE - In this April 18, 2021 video image, attorney Eric Nelson makes concluding arguments in Minneapolis, Minnesota during the trial against former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin about George Floyd's death in 2020 (Court TV via AP , Pool, File)

FILE – In this April 18, 2021 video image, attorney Eric Nelson makes concluding arguments in Minneapolis, Minnesota during the trial against former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin about George Floyd’s death in 2020 (Court TV via AP , Pool, File)

In this video image, Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill dresses the court after the judge hands the trial over to the jury.  Monday, April 19, 2021, in the trial against Chauvin, on May 25, 2020, the death of George Floyd at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis, Minnesota (Court Television via AP, Pool)

In this image from the video, Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill dresses the court after the judge hands the trial over to the jury. Monday, April 19, 2021, in the trial against Chauvin, on May 25, 2020, the death of George Floyd at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis, Minnesota (Court Television via AP, Pool)

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Although he was found guilty of three counts, according to the Minnesota statute, he will be convicted only of the most serious – second-degree murder. While this census carries a maximum sentence of 40 years, experts say he will not receive that much.

Prosecutors did not specify how long they would look for Chauvin.

According to the Minnesota sentencing guidelines, the presumed second-degree involuntary manslaughter sentence for a person with no criminal record like Chauvin will be 12 1/2 years. Judges can sentence someone to less than 10 years and eight months or up to 15 years and still be within the advisory guidelines. To overcome this, Judge Peter Cahill will have to establish that there are “aggravating factors” and even if these are found, legal experts say Chauvin is unlikely to face it for more than 30 years.

In legal reports filed Friday, prosecutors said Chauvin should be convicted above the recommended range because Floyd was particularly vulnerable with cuffed hands behind his back, as he was face down, and that he was in intoxication. They noted that Chauvin took his position even after Floyd did not react and officers knew he had no pulse.

Prosecutors also said that Chauvin treated Floyd with extreme cruelty during his prolonged detention, saying that Chauvin inflicted unpaid pain and caused psychological stress to Floyd and bystanders.

“The defendant continued to maintain his position at the top of Mr Floyd, even when Mr Floyd shouted that he was in pain, even Mr Floyd exclaimed 27 times that he could not breathe, and even when Mr Floyd said that the defendant’s actions killed him, “prosecutors wrote. They added that he remained in position while Floyd shouted for his mother, stopped talking and lost consciousness.

“In this way, the accused not only inflicted physical pain. He caused psychological stress to Mr Floyd in the last moments of his life, leaving Mr Floyd helpless as he squeezed the last remnants of life out of Mr Floyd’s body.” , prosecutors write.

FILE - On April 15, 2021, a video image file, prosecutor Jerry Blackwell spoke while Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill discussed court claims in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin about George Floyd's death in 2020. in Minneapolis, Min.  (Court TV via AP, Pool, File)

FILE – On April 15, 2021, a video image file, prosecutor Jerry Blackwell spoke while Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill discussed court claims in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin about George Floyd’s death in 2020. in Minneapolis, Min. (Court TV via AP, Pool, File)

FILE - In this file from April 19, 2021 from the video of the video camera of the police body George Floyd responds to the police after they approached his car in front of Cup Foods in Minneapolis, on May 25, 2020. The image was shown when the prosecutor Steve Schleicher gave concluding arguments to the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis, in the trial against former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who is accused of Floyd's death on May 25.  (Court TV via AP, Pool, File)

FILE – In this file from April 19, 2021 from the video of the video camera of the police body George Floyd responds to the police after they approached his car in front of Cup Foods in Minneapolis, on May 25, 2020. The image was shown when the prosecutor Steve Schleicher gave concluding arguments to the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis, in the trial against former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who is accused of Floyd’s death on May 25. (Court TV via AP, Pool, File)

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They also said that Chauvin abused his position as a police officer, committed his crime as part of a group of three or more people, and nailed Floyd in the presence of children – including a 9-year-old girl who testified during the process that watching the restraint makes her “sad and somehow crazy.”

Nelson disagreed, writing that “Mr. Chauvin entered the officers’ meeting with Mr. Floyd with legal authority to assist in the lawful arrest of an actively resisting criminal. Under Minnesota law, Mr. Chauvin was empowered to use reasonable coercion to do so. “

Nelson said Floyd was not particularly vulnerable, saying he was a large man fighting officers. He writes that courts usually find a particular vulnerability if the victims are young or perhaps asleep when a crime occurs.

Nelson added that Floyd was not treated with extreme cruelty, saying there was no evidence that the attack by Chauvin involved unpaid pain, which is not usually associated with a second-degree murder.

“Mr Floyd’s attack took place within a very short time, did not involve threats or ridicule, such as putting a gun to his head and pulling the trigger … and ended when EMS finally responded to officers’ calls. , “Nelson writes.

He added that the state had not proved that any of the other employees had been actively involved in the crime for which Chauvin had been convicted. These officials are expected to stand trial for aiding and abetting in August. He also writes that the presence of children in this case differs from the cases in which children may witness a crime in their home and not be able to leave.

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And, he said, the state has failed to prove that Chauvin’s role as a police officer is an aggravating factor, saying Floyd’s fight with officers shows that Chauvin’s authority is irrelevant to Floyd.

Cahill said he would review the lawyers’ written arguments before determining whether there were any aggravating factors that would require a harsher sentence.

No matter what sentence Chauvin receives, in Minnesota, a defendant with good behavior is expected to serve two-thirds of his prison sentence and the rest on a controlled release, commonly known as parole.


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