Derek Chauvin: $1.25m bail set for police officer charged with George Floyd's murder

Alex Woodward
New York
Monday 08 June 2020 21:31
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Minnesota attorney general believes court will 'do the right thing' in case against Minneapolis police officers involved in George Floyd death

Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged with murdering George Floyd on Memorial Day, had his bail set at $1.25 million during his first court appearance on Monday.

Mr Chauvin, among four officers fired from the force after he was filmed with his knee pressed against the back of Mr Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes, faces charges of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. He had not entered a plea.

Last week, bail was set at $1 million each, or at $750,000 with conditions, for J Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao following their arrest on charges of aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting manslaughter.

They each face up to 40 years in prison, if convicted. Their next court appearances are set for 29 June.

Mr Chauvin had waived his right to appear in court in person, choosing instead to appear by video conference from Minnesota Correctional Facility, where he was moved from Hennepin County Jail days after his arrest over Covid-19 concerns at the jail.

Funeral services are also underway in Mr Floyd's hometown of Houston, Texas, where hundreds of mourners have gathered to pay respects as protests against police brutality continue for a second week following his death.

Last week, the Hennepin County Medical Examiner ruled Mr Floyd's death a homicide caused by "cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression".

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, who is leading the prosecution, announced additional charges against Mr Chauvin as well as new charges against the other three former officers.

A judge raised Mr Chauvin's initial $500,000 bond after the attorney general introduced the second-degree murder charge against him.

Three former Minneapolis police officers were charged as accomplices in George Floyd's death. 

A civil rights investigation launched has been launched by the state's Human Rights Department.

Benjamin Crump, who represents the Floyd family, said Attorney General Ellison told the family that he will upgrade the charges to first-degree murder if evidence supports it.

The killing of Mr Floyd, a black man who was pinned face-down on the ground in handcuffs before his death, has galvanised global Black Lives Matter protests demanding dramatic law enforcement reforms.

In Minneapolis, the city council has agreed to disband its police department entirely, amid growing calls for cities to defund or abolish existing police departments in favour of community public safety platforms.

Demonstrators are calling for cities to divert millions of dollars from policing budgets to social welfare programmes, including housing, education and healthcare.

Mr Chauvin can be released at a lower bail of $1 million on the conditions that he doesn't leave the state without permission, has no contact with Mr Floyd's family, doesn't work in law enforcement or security in that time, and surrender his firearms and permits. He also would have to be under supervised release.

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