Another aggravating factor, the judge said, was that children were present and "observed Mr. Floyd being asphyxiated as he begged for his life". People demanding justice for George Floyd gathered tonight outside the Hennepin County Government Center, where the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin has been ongoing for the past two weeks.
"It was particularly cruel to kill George Floyd slowly by preventing his ability to breathe when Mr. Floyd had already made it clear he was having trouble breathing", Cahill said.
White ex-officer Derek Chauvin, 45, was convicted in April of murdering African American Floyd previous year in a case that prompted a national reckoning on racial injustice and police brutality.
The former officers - Thomas Lane, Tou Thao and J. Alexander Kueng - have been charged by the state with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter for their alleged roles in Floyd's May 25 death.
Along with Lane, the former officers also face charges that they showed "deliberate indifference" to Floyd's suffering, by failing to provide medical care. And fourth, the judge ruled Chauvin committed the crime as a group with the active participation of at least three other people.
Attorneys for Floyd's family applauded Cahill's ruling. Cahill said these officers let Chauvin know that asphyxia was actually happening - yet Chauvin held his position.
Even with the aggravating factors, legal experts have said, Chauvin, 45, is unlikely to get more than 30 years when he is sentenced June 25.
Defense attorney Eric Nelson disagreed with the state, saying that prosecutors did not prove that there were aggravating factors.
Dual prosecutions at both the state and federal level are permitted in the United States but are relatively rare, highlighting the importance of this case, which sparked a massive wave of national demonstrations last summer. However, prosecutors asked for what is called "upward departure", and argued Chauvin abused his authority as an officer and should receive a longer sentence that what would normally be recommended.