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MINNEAPOLIS — Prosecutors are seeking a 30-year sentence for the former Minneapolis police officer convicted of murder in George Floyd’s death, but a defense attorney is asking that Derek Chauvin be sentenced to probation and time already served, according to court documents filed Wednesday.

Chauvin is scheduled to be sentenced June 25 following his conviction on murder and manslaughter charges. Judge Peter Cahill previously ruled there were aggravating factors in Floyd’s death, which gives him the discretion to sentence Chauvin above the range recommended by state guidelines.

Prosecutors said Chauvin’s actions were egregious and a sentence of 30 years would “properly account for the profound impact of Defendant’s conduct on the victim, the victim’s family, and the community.” They said that Chauvin’s actions “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. But the sentence the Court imposes must show that no one is above the law, and no one is below it,” prosecutors wrote. “Defendant’s sentence must hold him fully accountable for his reprehensible conduct.”

Defense attorney Eric Nelson cited Chauvin’s age, lack of a criminal record, and support from family and friends in requesting a sentence of probation and time served. He said Chauvin was the product of a “broken” system.

Chauvin was convicted in April of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter for pressing his knee against Floyd’s neck for about 9 1/2 minutes as the Black man said he couldn’t breathe and went motionless. Floyd’s death, captured on widely seen bystander video, set off demonstrations around the United States and beyond as protesters demanded changes in policing.

Even though Chauvin was found guilty of three counts, he’ll only be sentenced on the most serious one – second-degree murder. Under Minnesota sentencing guidelines, with no criminal record he faces a presumptive sentence of 12 1/2 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 prosecutors asked for what is known as an upward departure, saying there were several aggravating factors that warranted a higher sentence. Cahill agreed, finding Chauvin treated Floyd with particular cruelty, abused his position of authority as a police officer, committed his crime as part of a group of three or more people, and that he pinned Floyd down in the presence of children.

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Prosecutors said that even one of those factors would warrant the higher sentence.

Nelson wrote that while this incident painted Chauvin as a “dangerous man,” he has served his community as an officer and has a loving family and close friends. He also disputed the court’s finding that aggravating factors existed, saying there is no evidence that Chauvin’s assault on Floyd included gratuitous infliction of pain or cruelty.

“Here, Mr. Chauvin was unaware that he was even committing a crime. In fact, in his mind, he was simply performing his lawful duty in assisting other officers in the arrest of George Floyd,” Nelson wrote, adding: “Mr. Chauvin’s offense is best described as an error made in good faith reliance his own experience as a police officer and the training he had received – not intentional commission of an illegal act.”

Nelson added: “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.”

No matter what sentence Chauvin gets, in Minnesota it’s presumed that a defendant with good behavior will serve two-thirds of the penalty in prison and the rest on supervised release, commonly known as parole.

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 involved in Floyd’s death were also charged with federal civil rights violations; they await trial in state court on aiding and abetting counts.

A federal trial date has not been set. Federal prosecutors are asking for more time to prepare for trial. In court filings, federal prosecutors said the case is complex because of the sheer volume of evidence and the separate but coordinated state and federal investigations.

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Black Lives Matter

Breonna Taylor family files another lawsuit alleging Louisville police withheld body camera records

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A new lawsuit filed by Breonna Taylor’s family claims the Louisville Metro Police Department has withheld records that could show there is body-camera footage of the fatal March 2020 raid, dispelling “misinformation” presented to the public.

In the lawsuit filed on Wednesday in Jefferson County Circuit Court, attorney Sam Aguiar is asking a judge to order the department to release information about the body-cameras under Kentucky’s Open Records Act. 

Police officials and state Attorney General Daniel Cameron have previously stated that no body-camera footage exists that captured the aid resulting in Taylor’s death on March 13, 2020. Authorities did release body-camera footage from officers responding to the scene after the shooting.

LMPD officials have maintained that officers were not required to wear body-cameras during the operation, and those involved either were not wearing their cameras or did not manually activate them. But the lawsuit argues there is a second way the department’s Axon-brand cameras can activate.

“The plaintiffs, and the public, have an uncompromised right to know whether undisclosed body-camera footage exists, or otherwise previously existed, from LMPD Axon Cameras which relates to the events surrounding the death of Breonna Taylor,” the lawsuit says, according to a copy of the document obtained by The Washington Post.

Aguiar argues that the Axon Flex 2 camera can transition from a buffering mode to “event mode” automatically under certain circumstances, such as exposure to the light bars on police vehicles within signal range. The attorney claims dozens of marked and undercover LMPD vehicles were at the scene the night Taylor was killed and had their lights at one time or another. 

“Assuming that body cameras were docked following Breonna’s killing, and that there was no tampering of the devices or associated storage prior to the docking, audit trails should assist in verifying whether Metro has been truthful to the public regarding the existence of footage,” the lawsuit says. 

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Aguiar claims it would have been difficult for most officers participating in the criminal investigation at Taylor’s apartment not to have had their Axon cameras activated at one point or another – and even cameras left in vehicles should have activated when within range of a signal. 

“Given that Metro was able to verify that certain LMPD members’ body cameras were specifically assigned on March 13, 2020, there is a reasonable basis to believe that misinformation has been presented to the general public regarding the usage of body cameras by several members of the LMPD CID unit,” the lawsuit states.

No one has been charged directly in connection to Taylor’s death. 

Three officers involved in the drug operation that killed Taylor are no longer employed by the police department. Brett Hankison and Myles Cosgrove were both fired, and Jonathan Mattingly retired last month. Hankison was indicted last September on three felony counts of wanton endangerment for allegedly firing into a neighboring apartment the night of the raid. 

The city of Louisville agreed to pay $12 million to Taylor’s family last September in settling their wrongful death lawsuit. The agreement also included implementing changes at the police department in an effort to prevent future deaths during police raid. 

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Antifa

Minneapolis city council member ‘temporarily’ held hostage by BLM…

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#Minneapolis city council member blocked in and held hostage by #BLM “protestors” until she signed a statement agreeing to their demands.

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Black Lives Matter

Riots in Rock Hill, South Carolina after perp resists arrest yesterday

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 Someone shot a video on Wednesday afternoon that showed two brothers getting arrested during a struggle with police officers at a Rock Hill gas station.

About 100 people took to the streets in protest blocking the intersection of Dave Lyle Blvd and Black Street for several hours. They walked to the police department and at about 11 p.m. lit a fire surrounding a tree in front of the station. A police officer and the fire department arrived after the fire was lit.

Our crews could see objects being thrown at the police officer. Police in riot gear entered the scene after that.

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