Minnesota AG Keith Ellison requests aggravated sentence for Chauvin
"Defendant thus did not just inflict physical pain. He caused Mr. Floyd psychological distress during the final moments of his life."
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison submitted paperwork, signed by Assistant Attorney General Matthew Frank, on April 30 requesting former police officer Derek Chauvin receive a severe sentence for the murder of George Floyd.
The legal brief filed in Minnesota’s Hennepin County District Court argued “the facts proven beyond a reasonable doubt at trial demonstrate that five aggravating factors support an upward sentencing departure.”
“A substantial portion of Defendant’s conduct also occurred after Mr. Floyd was in a vulnerable medical state: Defendant continued to kneel on Mr. Floyd’s neck and upper back even after Mr. Floyd said he could not breathe 27 times, for almost four minutes after he became nonresponsive, and for approximately three minutes after officers knew that he had no pulse. Mr. Floyd also was intoxicated, and Defendant knew as much during the incident. Thus, the facts proven beyond a reasonable doubt demonstrate that Mr. Floyd was particularly vulnerable,” the brief read.
In his request for an aggravated sentence, Ellison continued “Mr. Floyd was treated with particular cruelty.” He went on to say: “Defendant thus did not just inflict physical pain. He caused Mr. Floyd psychological distress during the final moments of his life, leaving Mr. Floyd helpless as he squeezed the last vestiges of life out of Mr. Floyd’s body.”
The prosecution also argued the fact the crime was committed in the presence of minors, one only 9-years-old.
“All four testified that they witnessed at least ‘some portion’ of Defendant’s conduct. Id. And all four were traumatized by Defendant’s actions, as their testimony at trial makes clear.”
The argument closed, “the State respectfully requests that the Court find the facts necessary to support the existence of all five aggravating factors and state those facts on the record. Based on these aggravating factors, the State respectfully requests an upward sentencing departure in this case.”
Eric Nelson, Chauvin’s defense attorney has filed his own argument, disagreeing with the prosecution’s recommended sentencing.
“Mr. Floyd was well over six feet tall, muscular, and weighed in excess of two hundred pounds.”
He continued, “officers were authorized to both handcuff Mr. Floyd and restrain him as part of their lawful duties. Mr. Chauvin did not place the handcuffs on Mr. Floyd. At the time Mr. Floyd was placed on the ground and restrained, he was not particularly vulnerable and there is no reason for Mr. Chauvin to have suspected that he was.”
The three other officers charged in George Floyd’s death, J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane, and Tou Thao, still await trial. As theGrio previously reported, the group of former officers face charges of aiding and abetting murder and manslaughter. Thao, who was laid off from the Minneapolis Police Department in 2009 and rejoined in 2012, is the only officer involved who did not have direct physical contact with Floyd. However, prosecutors may argue that ignoring pleas from the crowd and Thao’s failure to intervene contributed to Floyd’s death.
Before paramedics arrived, Kueng checked Floyd’s pulse repeatedly and did not get a response. All of the officers involved were fired from the Minneapolis Police Department and Kueng, Lane, and Thao were released from jail last summer after paying a $750,000 bond. The trials are scheduled to start in August. The Department of Justice also announced it has launched a civil investigation into the Minneapolis Police Department to determine whether there are patterns of excessive force and discrimination.
According to theGrio, on April 20, a jury found Chauvin guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter. Without an aggravated sentence, he faces up to 12 and a half years on either second-degree unintentional murder or third-degree murder according to sentencing guidelines. Second-degree manslaughter has a maximum four-year sentence.
This article contains additional reporting by theGrio’s Sytonia Reid.
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