Officer charged in Floyd’s death held on $1 million bail
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A judge on Monday kept bail at $1 million for a former Minneapolis police officer charged with second-degree murder in George Floyd’s death.
Derek Chauvin, 44, said little during an 11-minute hearing in which he appeared before Hennepin County Judge Jeannice M. Reding on closed-circuit television from the state’s maximum security prison in Oak Park Heights. He wore a mask and handcuffs as he sat at a table, where he answered yes or no to routine housekeepng questions and confirmed the the spelling of his name and address. He did not enter a plea; a step that usually comes later in Minnesota courts.
Floyd, a handcuffed black man, died May 25 after the white police officer pressed his knee into his neck for several minutes even after Floyd stopped moving and pleading for air. His death set off protests, some violent, in Minneapolis that swiftly spread to cities around the U.S. and the globe. Chauvin and three other officers on the scene were fired the day after Floyd’s death.
The other three officers — J. Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao — are charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and with aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter. They remain in the Hennepin County jail on $750,000 bail. If convicted, they potentially face the same maximum penalty as Chauvin: up to 40 years in prison.
Lane’s family has set up a website seeking donations to help him post bond. The site highlights Lane’s relative lack of experience — he had only recently completed his probationary period — and his questions to Chauvin about whether Floyd should be rolled onto his side. It also noted his volunteer work.
Floyd’s death has ignited calls to reform the Minneapolis Police Department, which community activists have long accused of entrenched racial discrimination and brutality. A majority of Minneapolis City Council members said Sunday that they favor disbanding the department entirely, though they have yet to offer concrete plans for what would replace it.
“Nobody is saying we want to abolish health or safety,” Council Member Alondra Cano told WCCO-AM on Monday. “What we are saying is we have a broken system that is not producing the outcomes we want.”
The state last week launched a civil rights investigation of the department. On Friday, the council approved a stipulated agreement that immediately banned the use of chokeholds and neck restraints and included several other changes. That investigation is ongoing.
Associated Press writer Todd Richmond contributed from Madison, Wis.