Federal prosecutors want ex-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin to be sentenced to 25 years in prison for George Floyd's murder in 2020 and the earlier abuse of a 14-year-old boy.
In a memo outlining the Justice Department's reasoning for seeking that sentence, prosecutors said the former veteran training officer exhibited a pattern of "cold-blooded" behavior that led to Floyd's killing and the injury of a child who cried out in fear and pain.
"Throughout both incidents, the defendant appeared unable or unwilling to recognize the humanity of the people under his knees — a compliant young teenager and a frightened man calling out to his loved ones — no matter how many minutes passed, no matter how completely the people beneath him complied, no matter how anguished their cries of pain and fear," Assistant U.S. Attorney LeeAnn Bell and Special Litigation Counsel Samantha Trepel wrote in the government's sentencing memo.
Senior U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson has not set a sentencing date for Chauvin, who in December pleaded guilty to two counts of civil rights violations in the cases.
Three of Chauvin's former colleagues — Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao — were convicted in February in U.S. District Court of depriving Floyd of his constitutional rights by failing to stop Chauvin from using excessive force. They have yet to be sentenced.
Lane pleaded guilty to state charges of aiding and abetting manslaughter in May, avoiding a trial. The state trial for Kueng and Thao, on charges of aiding and abetting second-degree murder and manslaughter, is set for October.
An attorney for Chauvin did not immediately respond to requests for comment Thursday.
Chauvin's attorney, Eric Nelson, and the government had agreed in his plea deal that a 20- to 25-year sentence was appropriate for the former officer. It would be served concurrently with the 22½-year sentence Chauvin is serving after being convicted of murder a year ago by a state jury.
Federal prosecutors had previously said they would seek 25 years for Chauvin, and this week's memo outlines their arguments for doing so.
The prosecutors said they want a longer sentence than what was imposed at the state level because the previous case did not address Chauvin's conduct toward a 14-year-old boy in 2017.
As he did with Floyd three years later, Chauvin pinned John Pope under his knee, according to the federal court filing, and also struck him in the head "multiple times with a police-issue flashlight."
The confrontation occurred after Chauvin and an officer he was training responded to a reported domestic assault at Pope's home in Minneapolis.
Chauvin reportedly struck the boy after he resisted being handcuffed by the other officer, pinned him to the wall and struck him again — opening a wound that required stitches.
The filing also said Chauvin held his knee on Pope's neck and upper back for 15 to 16 minutes as he lay "facedown on the floor, handcuffed and unresisting."
According to the filing, Chauvin pinned Pope by the neck for more than 61⁄2 minutes and ignored the boy's cries of pain.
Pope and 39-year-old Zoya Code last month filed separate federal civil rights lawsuits against Chauvin and the Minneapolis Police Department over Chauvin's use of the dangerous neck restraint.
Prosecutors this week cited Chauvin's 18-year career and history of abusing his authority as reasons for a tougher sentence.
Chauvin, they wrote, "used his law enforcement career to engage in abusive conduct in which the defendant punished those who did not instantly submit to his authority."
"Both incidents demonstrate that the defendant willfully used unreasonable force without regard for the life and safety of members of the public he was charged with protecting," the prosecutors said.