Derek Chauvin Bail Set at $1.25 Million – Charged With Murder in George Floyd Case.
MINNEAPOLIS — The white police officer charged with murder in the killing two weeks ago of George Floyd, a black man whose death in custody led to nationwide protests, was given a bail of as much as $1.25 million on Monday.
Derek Chauvin, a 19-year veteran, participated in his initial hearing at the heavily fortified Hennepin County courthouse on a video feed from jail. Mr. Chauvin, who has been behind bars since he was arrested on May 29, has been charged with second-degree manslaughter and second-degree murder, a more serious count than he had originally faced. He could be sentenced to up to 40 years in prison.
Mr. Chauvin, who placed his knee on the neck of Mr. Floyd for nearly nine minutes in a video that prompted anguish and outrage across the nation, has been a focus of anger, referred to as the most hated man in the world. Activists said they feared he would not abide by bail restrictions if he was permitted to go home until trial.
Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged with murder, in a mugshot provided by Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office.
Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged with murder, in a mugshot provided by Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office.Credit…Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office, via Getty Images
Arguing for a bail of $1.25 million, the prosecutor Matthew Frank said Mr. Floyd’s death had created “a strong reaction in the community, to put it mildly.” He said that created two factors in deciding bail.
“One is the likelihood to flee from the jurisdiction because of not only the severity of the charges, but the strength of the community’s opinion,” he said. “And secondly, because of the severity of those charges, a significant amount of bail is warranted.”
BREAKING: Judge sets $1 million bail for an ex-Minneapolis officer who is charged with second-degree murder in George Floyd's death. Bail was raised from $500,000 for Derek Chauvin, who was seen on video pressing his knee into Floyd's neck. https://t.co/1joODyMxS7
— The Associated Press (@AP) June 8, 2020
During the hearing, Mr. Chauvin wore an orange jumpsuit and a blue mask that muffled his responses of “Yes, your honor” to a few procedural questions. Eric Nelson, Mr. Chauvin’s lawyer, said he did not object to the state’s bail request at this time; Judge Jeannice M. Reding granted it.
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Mr. Chauvin’s bail would be $1 million if he agrees to certain conditions, including surrendering any of his firearms, remaining in the state until trial, not working in law enforcement and avoiding any contact with the Floyd family.
His next court appearance is scheduled for June 29, when he will enter a plea and some of the state’s evidence could be laid out.
Mr. Chauvin’s bail is higher than the bail of at least $750,000 given last week to the other three officers accused of aiding and abetting in Mr. Floyd’s death. Lawyers for two of those men, both rookies who had just days on the job, blamed Mr. Chauvin, who was a training officer for both of them. The third former officer has cooperated with the authorities. Those are all indications that the police officers will not be presenting a united front, unusual in cases in which the police are charged in a death.
All four men were fired the day after Mr. Floyd died.
On that evening of May 25, an employee of a corner store in south Minneapolis called the police, reporting that a counterfeit $20 bill had been used to buy cigarettes. The two rookie officers, J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane — who between them had seven days on the job — responded first.
Mr. Floyd, sitting in a nearby car, stiffened when the officers tried to put him in the back of their police car, and fell to the ground, according to an arrest affidavit. Mr. Floyd told the officers that he was not resisting arrest but was claustrophobic and did not want to get in the back seat of the car.
Then Mr. Chauvin and his partner, Tou Thao, arrived. Mr. Floyd struggled, and began saying he could not breathe, the affidavit says. Mr. Chauvin pulled Mr. Floyd out of the passenger side of the squad car at 8:19 p.m. Still handcuffed, Mr. Floyd went to the ground.
The rookie officers held Mr. Floyd’s back and legs. As Mr. Chauvin held his left knee on Mr. Floyd’s neck over almost nine minutes, Mr. Floyd said “I can’t breathe” and “Mama” and then, after a time, nothing at all.
The protests started the next day in Minneapolis before spreading to the world. Although some have turned into violent clashes with the police, and arsons and looting were reported in the early days in some protests, demonstrations were largely calm in recent days.
It is a temporary peace, activists cautioned, if Mr. Chauvin is not convicted.
“There is a real significant discrepancy between what happens when a policeman does something and a black man does something,” said one protester, Sara Semi, who just got “#icantbreathe” tattooed on her neck. “Chauvin needs to get life in prison if we want to see justice.”