MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Judge Peter Cahill told family members of George Floyd that “I recognize and hear the pain you feel”, before sentencing a former Minneapolis police officer to 22.5 years in prison for murder.
Cahill did not speak at length during Derek Chauvin’s sentencing hearing on Friday, but instead released a 22-page memorandum explaining his rationale for the sentence. He said it was “not the right time” to be “deep or intelligent”.
His sentence was 10 years more than the sentence alleged under state sentencing guidelines. Cahill told Chauvin that his sanction was “based on your abuse of a position of trust and authority and also on the particular cruelty you displayed towards George Floyd”.
Cahill said his decision was not based on “emotion or sympathy,” but he acknowledged the widespread pain Floyd’s death has caused the community.
“I recognize the pain of not only those who are in this courtroom, but also the Floyd family who are outside this courtroom and other members of the community,” Cahill said. “It was painful all over Hennepin County, across the state of Minnesota and even across the country.”
In his written legal analysis, Cahill noted that he had previously found aggravating factors in the case that enabled him to convict Chauvin above the guidelines. He wrote that two of these aggravating factors – Chauvin’s abuse of his position of trust or authority as a police officer and his treatment of Floyd with particular cruelty – were “substantial and compelling” reasons. of a higher penalty.
“Part of the mission of the Minneapolis Police Department is to give citizens ‘voice and respect’,” Cahill wrote. “Here Mr. Chauvin, rather than pursuing the MPD mission, treated Mr. Floyd with no respect and denied him the dignity due to all human beings and which he certainly would have extended to a friend or neighbor.”
Cahill said defense lawyer Eric Nelson’s probation requests, or failing a lower sentence than guidelines recommend, were not appropriate.
Cahill took issue with Nelson’s assertion that there is no case law to show that the post of peace officer was used to trigger the aggravating circumstance or abuse of authority. Cahill said this was not surprising, as lawsuits against officers are rare and research has revealed no previous cases in Minnesota in which a police officer has been convicted of murder and prosecutors have requested a departure with condemnation on the rise.
“If anything, the case for improvement is strengthened, not reduced, when a defendant commits crimes while imbued with state authority, like Mr. Chauvin’s did here, ”Cahill wrote.
Cahill said the position Floyd found himself in and the long time Chauvin pinned him down was particularly egregious, as Floyd begged for his life. He said these factors show that Chauvin inflicted gratuitous pain and that his “prolonged limitation of Mr. Floyd was also much longer and more painful than the typical scenario” of murder or manslaughter.
Find full AP coverage of George Floyd’s death at: https://apnews.com/hub/death-of-george-floyd