Ex-officer held on $1 million bail as Democrats unveil police reform bill
Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who kept his knee on George Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes as he struggled to breathe and ultimately died, made his first court appearance Monday — hours after congressional Democrats unveiled broad legislation aimed at reforming policing nationwide.
Chauvin, 44, was formally charged with second-degree murder without intent, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, with bail set at a minimum of $1 million.
The appearance came immediately after a weekend of peaceful protests in which massive and diverse crowds of demonstrators demanded change, but it was unclear whether Monday’s legal and legislative developments would satisfy those who have taken to the streets in recent days.
The Minnesota assistant attorney general, Matthew Frank, argued that the “severity of the charges” as well as the strength of public opinion made it more likely that Chauvin would flee if set free, the Star Tribune reported.
Chauvin’s attorney did not object to the bail conditions, raised to $1.25m from $1m without conditions, and to $1m from $750,000 with conditions, the newspaper said.
The hearing came as mass protests sparked by Floyd’s death continued into a third week in dozens of cities and towns across the US. Hundreds of mourners lined up outside a church in Floyd’s native Houston, Texas, to pay their respects.
The Republican Texas governor, Greg Abbott, was among the first to view the casket and planned to meet privately with the family later on Monday.
The three other men, J. Alexander Kueng, 26, Thomas Lane, 37, and 34-year-old Tou Thao, were arraigned last week. They were ordered held in lieu of $1 million bail with no conditions, and on lieu of $750,000 bail with conditions that mirror those set for Chavuin on Monday.
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All four cops were fired a day after Floyd’s death, when a video of the incident was widely disseminated.
Chauvin’s next court hearing is set for June 29.