In a ruling on Wednesday, Judge Peter Cahill found Chauvin abused his authority as a police officer when he held Floyd last year and treated Floyd with particular cruelty.
The move came after prosecutors called for a so-called “upward start,” which calls for tougher sentences than those outlined in state guidelines.
Chauvin was convicted in April of second and third degree murder and second degree manslaughter for pressing his knee against Floyd’s neck as the unarmed black man said he couldn’t breathe and was still.
In their request for an upward start, prosecutors argued that Floyd was particularly vulnerable with his hands cuffed behind his back while face down.
They noted that Chauvin retained his post even after Floyd became unresponsive and officers knew he had no pulse.
Prosecutors also said Chauvin treated Floyd with particular cruelty during the long restraint, saying Chauvin inflicted gratuitous pain and caused psychological distress to Floyd and passers-by.
Finally, they argued that Chauvin abused his position of authority as a police officer, committed his crime as part of a group of three or more, and pinned Floyd in the presence of children – including a nine year old girl. who testified at trial that looking at the restraint made her[traduction]”Sad and a little crazy”.
Judge Cahill agreed with all but one of the prosecutors’ arguments. He said prosecutors did not prove Floyd was particularly vulnerable.
Although Chauvin has been convicted of three counts, under Minnesota laws he will only be convicted on the most serious charge – second degree murder.
Prior to the upward departure decision, Chauvin would have been given an alleged 12-and-a-half-year sentence on that count under Minnesota’s sentencing guidelines and Cahill could have sentenced him to as little as 10 years and eight months or up to 15 years. .
Even with the aggravating factors, legal experts said Chauvin would likely not get over 30 when he is sentenced on June 25.
Defense attorney Eric Nelson disagreed with the ruling, saying prosecutors had failed to prove there were aggravating factors.
He said Chauvin had the legal authority to assist in the arrest of Floyd and was authorized by law to use reasonable force. He also said Floyd was not particularly vulnerable, claiming he was a tall man who struggled with officers.
Nelson also argued that Floyd was not treated with any particular cruelty, saying there was no evidence that the assault perpetrated by Chauvin involved gratuitous pain that is usually not associated with second-grade murder. degree.
Chauvin has also been charged with federal charges alleging violating Floyd’s civil rights, as well as the civil rights of a 14-year-old he detained during an arrest in 2017.
If convicted of the charges, which were made public on Friday, a federal sentence would be served concurrently with Chauvin’s state sentence.
The other three former officers involved in Floyd’s death have also been charged with federal civil rights violations. They are waiting to be tried by a state court for complicity.