Prosecutors have asked the Minneapolis judge overseeing the case against Derek Chauvin to consider several aggravating circumstances when he sentences the former police officer in June for the murder of George Floyd.
State of Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison and lead prosecutor Matthew Frank said in a memorandum to District Court Judge Peter Cahill that Chauvin deserves a sentence stiffer than the state guidelines dictate because he held a position of authority who treated Mr Floyd, a vulnerable victim, with cruelty.
The “defendant’s actions inflicted gratuitous pain, and caused psychological distress to Mr. Floyd and to the bystanders,” the prosecutors wrote, adding that Chauvin made “no attempt” to give Floyd medical attention.
Chauvin’s lawyer Eric Nelson was not immediately available for comment.
In the confrontation captured on video, Chauvin, a white veteran police officer, pushed his knee into the neck of Mr Floyd, a 46-year-old black man in handcuffs, on May 25, 2020. Chauvin and three fellow officers were attempting to arrest Mr Floyd, accused of using a fake $US20 note to buy cigarettes.
Mr Floyd’s death led to protests in the United States and abroad about excessive use of force by police against people of colour.
On April 20, a jury found Chauvin guilty of second degree murder, third degree murder and manslaughter in the killing of Floyd, a milestone conviction in the fraught racial history of the United States and a rebuke of law enforcement’s treatment of black Americans.
When he is sentenced on June 16, Chauvin faces a combined 75 years in prison, based on the state’s sentencing guidelines. He could receive more time in prison if Cahill agrees with the prosecutors’ legal arguments.