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George Floyd: Judge finds 'aggravating factors' in death, paving way for tougher sentence

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By Euronews  with Reuters
People hold signs, including one with an image of George Floyd, outside the courthouse in Minneapolis on Tuesday, 20 April, 2021.
People hold signs, including one with an image of George Floyd, outside the courthouse in Minneapolis on Tuesday, 20 April, 2021.   -   Copyright  Morry Gash/Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.   -  

A judge has ruled that aggravating factors were involved in George Floyd's death - a decision that could lead to a longer sentence for former former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.

On 20 April, a jury convicted Chauvin, 45, of second and third degree murder and manslaughter after three weeks of testimony in the widely followed trial. 

Floyd, who was Black, died after Chauvin, a white officer, kneeled on his neck for nine and a half minutes, despite repeated warnings from Floyd that he could not breathe.

The former police officer is expected to be sentenced on 25 June. 

Now,  a six-page ruling dated to Tuesday delivered by District Court Judge Peter Cahill could see his sentence lengthened after the judge found that prosecutors had proven Chauvin abused his position of authority, treated Floyd with particular cruelty and carried out a crime with a group and with children present, all of which he said are aggravating factors.

“The slow death of George Floyd occurring over approximately six minutes of his positional asphyxia was particularly cruel in that Mr Floyd was begging for his life and obviously terrified by the knowledge that he was likely to die but during which the defendant objectively remained indifferent to Mr. Floyd’s pleas,” Cahill wrote.

Three other former officers have also been charged in Floyd’s death. Their cases are set to go to trial this summer.