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Prosecutors are seeking a 30-year prison sentence for Derek Chauvin, the ex-cop convicted of murdering George Floyd — while his defense wants him released on probation, according to new court documents.
In a new filing Wednesday, prosecutors urged Judge Peter Cahill to go with the lengthy sentence — which is twice the upper limit of Minnesota guidelines — because the murder “shocked the nation’s conscience.”
“No sentence can undo Mr. Floyd’s death, and no sentence can undo the trauma Defendant’s actions have inflicted,” the prosecutors wrote of Chauvin, who was convicted in April of murder and manslaughter in the case that sparked riots and ongoing protests across the US.
“But the sentence the Court imposes must show that no one is above the law, and no one is below it,” prosecutors wrote of the 45-year-old ex-cop who kept Floyd pinned under his knee in May last year even as he was unconscious.
“Defendant’s sentence must hold him fully accountable for his reprehensible conduct,” the filing urged the judge ahead of the sentencing scheduled for June 25.
A 30-year prison sentence would “properly account for the profound impact of Defendant’s conduct on the victim, the victim’s family, and the community,” they wrote.
In his own filing, Chauvin’s defense attorney, Eric Nelson, instead said the ex-cop was a victim of a “broken” system — and should just get probation and be released on time served.
He insisted Chauvin’s pinning Floyd to the pavement was “best described as an error made in good faith” based on his training.
“Mr. Chauvin asks the Court to look beyond its findings, to his background, his lack of criminal history, his amenability to probation, to the unusual facts of this case, and to his being a product of a ‘broken’ system,” Nelson wrote.
“In spite of the notoriety surrounding this case, the Court must look to the facts. They all point to the single most important fact: Mr. Chauvin did not intend to cause George Floyd’s death. He believed he was doing his job,” he wrote.
Chauvin was convicted of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
However, he’ll only be sentenced on the most serious one — second-degree murder — and under Minnesota sentencing guidelines faces a presumptive sentence of 12½ years on that count.
Cahill can sentence him to as little as 10 years and eight months or as much as 15 years and stay within the guideline range.
But the judge has already ruled there were aggravating factors in Floyd’s death that give him the discretion to go beyond those guidelines.
Chauvin has also been indicted on federal charges alleging he violated Floyd’s civil rights, as well as the civil rights of a 14-year-old he restrained in a 2017 arrest.
The three other former officers charged with Chauvin — J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao — still await trial in state court on aiding and abetting counts. They were also charged with federal civil rights violations.
With Post wires
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