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Ruling paves way for longer sentence in George Floyd's death

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Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin is placed in handcuffs watched by Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill after a jury found him guilty on all counts in his trial for second-degree murder third-degree murder and second-degree mansla

Under Minnesota guidelines, he would have faced at least 12 years for second-degree murder. He has waived his right to have a jury determine his sentence, which means Judge Peter Cahill - who presided over the trial - will set the punishment.

"The renewed movement for racial justice and healing that began in the streets of Minneapolis after the murder of George Floyd, and quickly spread throughout the country and around the world, has inspired a deeper awakening to the ways systemic racism form the very foundations of the institutions they make up our common life, including our church", said Loya in a press release issued by the Diocese of MI, whose bishop helped organize the service. Chauvin's sentencing is now set to take place in June.

Prosecutors on April 30 asked Cahill to consider several aggravating circumstances in Floyd's death so that he could make "an upward sentencing departure" in the case. These are usually nonpublic and include highly personal information such as family history and mental health issues, as well as details of the offense and the harm it caused others and the community.

Mr Cahill agreed with the prosecutors on four of the five points.

CNN reports the judge listed those factors as Chauvin abused a position of trust and authority, he treated Floyd with particular cruelty, that children were present, and that Chauvin committed the crime with a group.

It was unknown when Cahill would rule on that motion. He said prosecutors did not prove that Floyd was particularly vulnerable, noting that even though he was handcuffed, he was able to struggle with officers who were trying to put him in a squad auto. Cahill said these officers let Chauvin know that asphyxia was actually happening - yet Chauvin held his position.

Defendant treated George Floyd with particular cruelty.

Defense attorney Eric Nelson disagreed with the state, saying that prosecutors did not prove that there were aggravating factors.

Chauvin's defence argued that the aggravating factors were unproved and that the defendant was legally authorised to use reasonable force. He also argued that the verdict was contrary to the law.

Cahill's ruling that there were aggravating factors will allow him to impose a stiffer sentence on the 45-year-old Chauvin, who also faces separate federal civil rights charges in connection with Floyd's death.

Chauvin was captured on video kneeling on the neck of 46-year-old Floyd for more than nine minutes until he passed out and died.

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