Unconditional bail for former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin was raised by $250,000 to $1.25 million Monday afternoon in the May 25 killing of George Floyd while in police custody.
What We Know:
- Chauvin made his first court appearance by video feed, handcuffed in an orange jumpsuit sitting at a small conference room table in the Hennepin County jail.
- In a hearing that lasted just 15 minutes, prosecutor Matthew Frank argued that the “severity of the charges” and the strength of public opinion against Chauvin made him a more likely flight risk. Frank asked District Court Judge Jeannice Reding to raise bail from $750,000 to $1 million with conditions, and from $1 million to $1.25 million without conditions.
- The conditions include that he remain law abiding, that he not have any contact with Floyd’s family, that he not work in law enforcement or security, that he surrender any firearms and licenses to carry, that he remains in Minnesota under court supervision, and that he sign a waiver of extradition upon his release.
- First appearances are typically procedural: The charges can be read to a defendant, although most attorneys waive the reading, bail is argued, and another hearing date is set. Chauvin, 44, of Oakdale, faces charges of second-degree murder without intent, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter. Chauvin did not enter a plea at the hearing. His next court appearance was set for 1:30 p.m. June 29.
- The courtroom was mostly empty, filled only by a handful of sheriff’s deputies, reporters, and lawyers. Plastic covers had been added along the bar separating the audience and lawyers as a precaution against the pandemic. Two large flat screen televisions were placed in front of the judge’s bench to show a live feed of Chauvin, who sat with jail personnel in a separate conference room.
- Chauvin’s former colleagues, J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao are charged accomplices. Kueng, Lane and Thao are each charged with one count of aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.
- Attorneys for Kueng and Lane told a judge during their clients’ first appearances last week that they were rookies with just a few days of experience and looked to Chauvin, the most senior officer at the scene, for guidance. Lane’s attorney, Earl Gray, argued last week that his client had asked two times if they should roll Floyd onto his side, but Chauvin said no.
- Lane and Kueng had responded about 8:08 p.m. to a call that a man used a counterfeit $20 bill at the Cup Foods on the corner of Chicago Avenue and E. 38th . They found Floyd sitting in a car nearby, handcuffed him and attempted to put him in their squad car. Chauvin and Thao arrived to assist.
- Lane restrained Floyd’s legs, Kueng held onto his back and Chauvin knelt on his neck as he lay in the street. Chauvin’s knee was on Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds total, according to the complaint.
- Frank quickly summarized the charges, and what has been seen by millions from around the world by witness videos of the arrest and death of George Floyd. The videos also showed bystanders begging the officers to stop, and Thao standing watch nearby dismissing witnesses’ concerns.
- Chauvin sat with his hands under the table for most of the hearing, at times looking like he was leaning forward to better hear questions from the judge and the video stream.
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.