Judge to consider aggravating factors in sentencing of Derek Chauvin

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A Hennepin County judge has ruled that he will consider aggravating factors in the sentencing of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who was convicted of murder and manslaughter in George Floyd’s death.

In a court document filed Tuesday, Judge Peter Cahill said he determined several facts supporting an aggravated durational departure have been proven beyond a reasonable doubt, including that Chauvin abused a position of trust and authority, treated Floyd with particular cruelty, acted with children present, and committed his acts as a group with the active participation of at least three other officers.

In the document, Cahill does note no finding was made as to whether the active participation of the three other officers present at the scene was "accompanied by the intent and knowledge necessary to establish that they are ‘offenders’ subject to criminal liability" under Minnesota statute 609.05.

The aggravating factors allow Cahill to go above the normal sentencing guidelines when determining Chauvin’s sentence but do not necessarily indicate he will do so.

Chauvin is scheduled to be sentenced on June 25. Chauvin waived his right to have the jury determine his sentence, so Cahill, who also presided over his trial, will make the decision.

Attorneys Ben Crump, Antonio Romanucci, and L. Chris Stewart released the following statement Wednesday:

"We applaud Judge Cahill for ruling that four of five aggravating factors were proven beyond a shadow of a doubt, which could significantly and appropriately lengthen his sentence. Clearly, Chauvin abused a position of trust, treated George Floyd with particular cruelty, and committed the crime in the presence of children and with the active participation of at least three other people — the other officers still to be tried. The application of justice in this case offers hope that we will see real change in the relationship between police and people of color by holding officers properly accountable for egregious behavior and for failing to honor the sanctity of all lives."

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison also provided a statement to KSTP on the matter.

"We appreciate the court agreed with our assessment of the aggravating factors. The particular cruelty of Derek Chauvin’s conduct, his abuse of authority with his fellow officers and the impact of this crime on the minors who had to witness it require a sentence that holds Mr. Chauvin sufficiently accountable."