Prosecutors plan to seek a harsher sentence for ex-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who is one of four charged for the murder of George Floyd.
According to legal documents obtained by TMZ, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison informed Judge Peter Cahill of his decision to ask for a more severe punishment against Chauvin due to a number of reasons. Ellison categorized Chauvin’s actions as “especially heinous” because Floyd was killed in front of children and in a “particularly vulnerable” state, as he was handcuffed and forced onto the pavement.
The AG also noted how Floyd repeatedly told Chauvin and other officers that he couldn't breathe, calling Chauvin’s response “particular cruelty.” Ellison mentioned the officers’ failure to get Floyd immediate medical attention, even when it was clear he had become unresponsive.
Ellison’s decision to seek a harsher sentence comes after recent bodycam footage was released showing Floyd pleading for officers to not shoot him. Floyd’s family has also filed a federal wrongful death civil rights lawsuit against the Minneapolis Police Department and the city of Minneapolis.
"The more video evidence you see, the more unjustifiable George Floyd's torture and death at the hands of the police becomes," the family’s attorney Ben Crump said in the statement. "Although the allegation against George was for a non-violent offense involving a $20 bill, the police officers approached him with guns drawn, simply because he was a Black man. As this video shows, he never posed any threat. The officers' contradictions continue to build. If not for the videos, the world might never have known about the wrongs committed against George Floyd."
Chauvin killed Floyd on May 25 by placing his knee on the 46-year-old father’s neck for nearly 9 minutes. The evil and unjust murder of Floyd sparked a revived wave of Black Lives Matter protests across the country, some of which are continuing today. The unjust deaths of Black American citizens such as Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and the recent police shooting of Jacob Blake, who fortunately survived the attack, amplified calls for radical change when it comes to policing in America.
Chauvin is currency facing up to 40 years in prison if convicted of the second-degree murder charge. From TMZ’s report, it appears Ellison will be asking for the maximum sentence. In addition to the murder charge, Chauvin and his soon-to-be ex-wife are facing nine counts of tax crimes.