The fired Minneapolis police officer who held his knee on George Floyd’s neck while he repeatedly said he couldn’t breathe made his first court appearance on Monday, where a judge slapped him with a bail of up to $1.25 million.
Derek Chauvin, 44, has been hit with second-degree murder charges for the May 25 death of Floyd, along with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter charges that allege he caused Floyd’s death through “culpable negligence,” including using a restraint that police are taught is “inherently dangerous.”
During the 11-minute hearing in Hennepin County District Court on Monday, Judge Jeannice Reding set bail at $1.25 million, or $1 million with conditions. If he accepts the conditions, the 44-year-old former officer can not make contact with Floyd’s family, can no longer work in law enforcement or security in the future, and must turn in all personal guns and permits.
“Obviously the death has had a strong reaction in the community, to put it mildly,” Assistant Attorney General Matthew Frank said Monday.
The former officer, who appeared in court via video from Oak Park Heights prison wearing an orange jumpsuit and blue mask, did not enter a plea in the procedural hearing. Chauvin was expected to appear again in court on June 29.
Three other former officers—Thomas Lane, Tou Thao, and J. Alexander Kueng—have been charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder while committing a felony and with aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter with culpable negligence.
All four cops were fired May 26, as explosive footage of the botched arrest led to an international outcry and calls for a federal investigation into an incident some called a “legalized lynching.”
According to Minnesota state law, second-degree murder is not premeditated and prosecutors much prove that while the suspect did not intend to cause death, they committed a felony offense during the incident. The charge typically carries a maximum penalty of 40 years behind bars. The other three officers face a maximum prison sentence of six years.
Monday’s court hearing comes two weeks after Floyd was killed, prompting residents in all 50 states and dozens of countries overseas to take to the streets, engaging in both peaceful and destructive protests to speak out against racial injustice and police brutality. The National Guard was deployed in a slew of states, plus Washington, D.C., after officials decided local cops alone were insufficient to contain the outrage.
On Sunday, nine Minneapolis City Council members announced they intend to defund and dismantle the city’s police department amid reporting by the StarTribune on how Minneapolis’ Third Precinct allegedly served as a “playground” for rogue cops like Chauvin.
“Let me be clear, I am for massive structural and transformational reform to an entire system that has not for generations worked for black and brown people; we have failed them, and we need to entirely reshape the system, we need a full-on cultural shift in how our Minneapolis Police Department and departments throughout the country function,” Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said Monday, before stressing he was not supporting a measure to entirely abolish the police department. The mayor was booed over his public skepticism of that policy over the weekend.
Source: The Daily Beast
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