What We Know:
- The eight correctional officer said they were barred from guarding or being on the same floor as Chauvin. He was taken to Ramsey County Jail where he is only being guarded by white people. According to Bonnie Smith, the attorney for the eight guards, they were told to leave the fifth floor where Chauvin is being held.
- The officers says they feel as if they are not trusted by their supervisors. Smith says, “My clients came to work that day fully prepared to do their work. They are highly trained, experienced professionals in dangerous and volatile situations and were just as well equipped as their white counterparts to perform their work duties on May 29.”
- The officers are seeking monetary compensation, training on racial bias for all jail employees and a formal and public apology form their supervisors.
- The Ramsey County Jail Superintendent Steven Lydon says he made the decision out of safety concerns. In the statement he says, “Recognizing that the murder of George Floyd was likely to create particularly acute racialized trauma, I felt I had an immediate duty to protect and support employees who may have been traumatized and may have heightened ongoing trauma by having to deal with Chauvin. Out of care and concern, and without the comfort of time, I made the decision to limit exposure to employees of color to a murder suspect who could potentially aggravate those feelings.”
- Smith says that Lydon’s response was done after the lawsuit was filed because her clients never asked him for protection and his concerns were not mentioned when he initiated the replacement officers.
The sheriff’s office is reviewing the case to determine what actually happened. We will follow this story as it continues.