(TMU) – Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin has walked free from a correctional facility after being released on a million dollar bond on Wednesday. Chauvin was being held in jail in connection with the May 25 police killing of George Floyd.
Chauvin, 44, faces second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter charges after video went viral showing him kneeling on the neck of Floyd for roughly eight minutes during the now-infamous arrest.
The former Minneapolis cop was incarcerated at Minnesota Correctional Facility-Oak Park Heights for his role in the killing, and was appearing in court remotely for all hearings beside the most recent one, where he and the three other officers charged – J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao – appeared in person.
However, at 9:40 a.m. Wednesday morning, Chauvin was transferred to Hennepin County Jail to post bail, reports WCCO.
The unconditional bail was set at $1.25 million, or $1 million with conditions, and Chauvin was released after posting a non-cash bond for the conditional bail.
Since late May, Chauvin was being kept at the Oak Park Heights maximum security prison. All four officers connected to the in-custody death of George Floyd have now been released from custody.
The killing of Floyd sparked a major period of nationwide unrest and protests against police brutality and racism, as well as a strong backlash from the Trump administration and far-right supporters of the police.
In the dramatic video of the killing, Chauvin can be seen pressing his knee down on Floyd’s neck for almost eight minutes as Floyd begs for mercy and cries for his “momma” while his life is sapped away.
“Tell my kids I love them – I’m dead,” he gasps at one point.
Footage of the incident captured by bystanders sent shockwaves across the country and the world that continue to reverberate to this day, despite the spread of outright misinformation about the case by pro-police conspiracy theorists.
Chauvin, Thao, Lane and Kueng were all fired the day after Floyd died before later being charged for the killing after weeks of major protests rocked Minneapolis and spread across the world, sparking national and international conversations about race relations and the role of police repression in society.
Prosecution documents against the four former officers show that Chauvin had seven prior incidents of applying neck or head and upper body restraints on civilians, including four cases in which prosecutors argue that he went way too far.
Chauvin’s attorney claims that Floyd’s death was a result of his coronavirus infection as well as very high levels of fentanyl and methamphetamine in his system.
If convicted of unintentional second-degree murder, Chauvin faces more than 12 years in prison.
Lawyers for Floyd’s family have been calling for Chauvin’s charges to be upgraded to first degree murder and for the three other officers involved to face murder charges. Atlanta-based lawyer Ben Crump, who is representing Floyd’s family, has argued that Floyd’s pleas for his life made clear that Chauvin knew what he was doing.
“For Chauvin to leave his knee on George’s neck despite warnings and evidence that his life was in danger — and to continue that course for many minutes — demands a first-degree murder charge,” Crump argued in June. “For George Floyd, the ambulance was his hearse.”
Chauvin, as well as his wife who left him soon after he was charged, also faces several counts of tax evasion after he was caught lying about his income.
However, Chauvin will continue to walk free until at least next March, according to court documents.
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