- The Washington Times - Monday, June 8, 2020

Derek Chauvin, the white police officer who has been charged in George Floyd’s death on Memorial Day, made his first court appearance Monday where a judge set his bail at $1.25 million without conditions or $1 million with conditions.

The former Minneapolis police officer is facing second-degree and third-degree murder charges, as well as manslaughter after a video went viral showing Mr. Chauvin pressing his knee into Mr. Floyd’s neck for nearly 9 minutes while he was on the ground and repeatedly saying he couldn’t breathe.

Mr. Floyd’s death sparked protests and riots nationwide over racism and law enforcement, with activists — and even some progressive Democratic members of Congress — calling to defund the police.

The protesters demanded Mr. Chauvin be charged with a heightened level of murder after the original charge was third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

The elevated charge of second-degree murder in Minnesota requires prosecutors to prove the former officer intended to kill Mr. Floyd, who was black.

Protesters also wanted the three other officers present at the time of the killing, who did not appear to intervene, to face charges.

Last week, Minnesota’s Attorney General Keith Ellison announced they would be charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder. The three officers are expected to appear before a judge later this month.

Monday marked Mr. Chauvin’s first court appearance in two weeks since Mr. Floyd’s death. He’s being held at Oak Heights, a maximum-security prison.

Judge Jeannice Reilly set Mr. Chauvin’s bail at $1.25 million without conditions. With conditions, the bail is set at $1 million — but those conditions include turning over guns, staying in the state, not contacting the victim’s family, and not working for security or law enforcement.

The amount was requested by the prosecutor and Mr. Chauvin’s attorney did not object. The former officer’s next court appearance is scheduled for later this month.

Mr. Chauvin worked for the Minneapolis Police Department for nearly two decades and had more than a dozen complaints during his employment.

Two of the 18 complaints against the former officer were marked “closed with discipline,” and in both cases, Mr. Chauvin reportedly received a “letter of reprimand,” according to CNN.

Mr. Chauvin and Mr. Floyd had both worked security at El Nuevo Rodeo, a Latin dance club, in Minneapolis, according to several reports. The two reportedly did not know each other but potentially could have crossed paths prior to Mr. Floyd’s arrest and death.

Two memorial services were held over the weekend for Mr. Floyd. His third service took place Monday in Houston, and former Vice President Joseph R. Biden is expected to meet privately with the Floyd family to offer condolences.

Mr. Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, will also create a video message to be played at Mr. Floyd’s funeral Tuesday.

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