The ex-police officer accused of killing George Floyd was given a bail of up to $1.25 million on Monday in his first court appearance.
Derek Chauvin has been charged with second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in connection with Floyd’s death. Chauvin, a former Minneapolis policeman, held his knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes while Floyd said he could not breathe. Floyd was later rushed unresponsive to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Chauvin faces up to 40 years in prison if convicted. The former officer has been held in jail since his arrest on May 29, according to The New York Times. He and three other officers were fired from the city police department on May 26, the day after Floyd’s death.
Prosecutor Matthew Frank argued for a bail of $1.25 million without conditions, or a bail of $1 million with conditions. Chauvin’s bail is higher than the $750,000 conditional bails set for the other three officers fired and charged with crimes related to Floyd’s death, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
Chauvin could get the lower bail if he agrees to remain law-abiding, give up any firearms and all licenses to carry, sign a waiver of extradition, refrain from working in policing or security, not contact Floyd’s family, and remain in Minnesota.
Frank argued for the increased bail for Chauvin because the “strong reaction” Floyd’s death has caused in Minneapolis has increased “the likelihood [for Chauvin] to flee from the jurisdiction because of not only the severity of the charges, but the strength of the community’s opinion.”
“And secondly, because of the severity of those charges, a significant amount of bail is warranted,” Frank said.
J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao are the three former officers charged alongside Chauvin with lesser crimes related to Floyd’s death. Each is charged with one count of aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.
On May 25, the Minneapolis Police Department responded to a call of a man trying to pass a counterfeit $20 bill. Kueng and Lane, two rookie officers with less than a week of on-the-job experience between them, were first on the scene. While trying to put Floyd in the back of their cruiser, Floyd fell to the ground and told the officers he was claustrophobic and didn’t want to go in the back of the car, the Times reports.
Chauvin and Thao arrived on the scene and the four officers held Floyd on the ground, with Chauvin placing his knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes while Floyd told the officers that he could not breathe.
Eventually, Floyd went silent. Kueng checked for a pulse, could not find one, and told his colleagues. Chauvin kept his knee on Floyd’s neck for another two-minutes, the Star Tribune reports.
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