USA TODAY International Edition

AG wants tougher Chauvin sentence

Minn. official’s brief cites cruelty toward Floyd

- Michael James

Minnesota’s attorney general filed paperwork Friday asking that Derek Chauvin be given a more severe prison sentence in the killing of George Floyd, arguing that the former Minneapoli­s police officer inflicted torturous deadly methods as Floyd pleaded for his life.

Chauvin, who is scheduled to be sentenced in June for second- degree murder and other charges, abused his power as a police officer in full view of the public and while Floyd was handcuffed and crying out for his mother, state Attorney General Keith Ellison said in a legal brief filed in Minnesota’s Hennepin County

District Court.

“Mr. Floyd was treated with particular cruelty. ... Defendant 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,” Ellison said. He added that Chauvin stayed in position as Floyd cried out for his mother, stopped speaking and lost consciousn­ess.

Prosecutor­s also wrote that Chauvin’s actions “inflicted gratuitous pain” and psychologi­cal distress not just on Floyd but on the civilian bystanders who they argued will be haunted by the memory of what they saw.

Defense attorney Eric Nelson is opposing a tougher sentence, saying the state has failed to prove that those aggravatin­g factors, among others, existed when Chauvin arrested Floyd on May 25.

Nelson also said that Floyd was not treated with particular cruelty and that there is no evidence the assault involved gratuitous pain that’s not usually associated with second- degree murder.

Chauvin, who is white, was convicted of second- degree unintentio­nal murder, third- degree murder and seconddegr­ee manslaught­er for pressing his knee against Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes as the Black man said he couldn’t breathe and went motionless.

Even though he was found guilty of three counts, under Minnesota statutes he’ll be sentenced only on the most serious one: second- degree murder. Though that count carries a maximum sentence of 40 years, experts say he won’t get that much.

Prosecutor­s did not specify how much time they would seek for Chauvin.

Under Minnesota sentencing guidelines, the presumptiv­e sentence for second- degree unintentio­nal murder for someone with no criminal record like Chauvin would be 121⁄ years. Judges can

2 sentence someone to as little as 10 years and eight months or as much as 15 years and still be within the advisory guideline range. To go above that, Judge Peter Cahill would have to find that there were “aggravatin­g factors,” and even if those are found, legal experts have said Chauvin likely would not face more than 30 years.

Prosecutor­s said Friday that a departure from sentencing guidelines is warranted because there are multiple aggravatin­g factors in the case.

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