Judge Peter Cahill said in an order made public Wednesday that four aggravating factors are present in the case: Chauvin abused a position of trust and authority as a police officer, treated Floyd with "particular cruelty", committed the crime as part of a group with at least three other people, and that children were present during the commission of the offense.
Chauvin's defence argued that the aggravating factors were unproved and that the defendant was legally authorised to use reasonable force.
Without an aggravating factor, Chauvin's sentence would likely have fallen between 10 years and eight months or 15 years.
People pay respects at George Floyd Square in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on April 20, 2021, after Derek Chauvin was found guilty of Floyd's murder. The ruling also found that Chauvin committed his crime as part of a group with the active participation of at least three other officers and acted with children present, including a 9-year-old girl and her 17-year-old cousin whose cellphone video of Floyd's arrest brought global attention to his death.
Chauvin, a white former officer convicted in a Minnesota state court of murdering Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, during an arrest last May, is scheduled to be sentenced on June 25. He said attorneys for both sides will argue whether an upward departure is appropriate and how long the sentence should be.
It has not been proven that Floyd was particularly vulnerable, according to the ruling. Cahill agreed with all but one. "Restraining George Floyd in the prone position with the weight of three police officers on him for a prolonged period did not create a vulnerability that was exploited to cause death; it was the actual mechanism causing death", Cahill wrote.
Cahill, who presided over the trial, will also sentence Chauvin, who technically faces a combined maximum 75 years in prison if the sentences run consecutively. Chauvin notoriously knelt on Floyd's neck for nearly 10 minutes before the captive lost consciousness. If convicted on those charges, which were unsealed Friday, a federal sentence would be served at the same time as Chauvin's state sentence.
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.