Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin posts $1M bond, released from prison

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MINNEAPOLIS, MN – Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who has been charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and manslaughter in the death of George Floyd, posted a $1 million bond and was released from Oak Park Heights prison.

Chauvin, who is the officer seen kneeling on the neck of George Floyd in a viral video, has been held in Oak Heights prison since May 31st. Fox News reported that a Minnesota Department of Corrections spokesperson confirmed that Chauvin was no longer being held at the prison as of Wednesday, October 7th. 

State court records show that he posted a non-cash $1 million bond that was signed by A-Affordable Bail Bonds of Brainerd, Minnesota. In addition, a notice of release was posted at 10:34 a.m. on October 7th and jail records show that he was released from Hennepin County Jail at 11:22 a.m.

When Chauvin was first taken into custody, he was booked at the Ramsey County Jail. He was shortly transferred to Hennepin County Jail. Shortly after that transfer, he was taken to Oak Park Heights prison.

Department of Corrections Commissioner Paul Schnell said that such transfers are “not uncommon” on high-profile subjects.

The other three officers involved in the incident, Thomas Lane, J. Kueng, and Tou Thao, have been charged with aiding and abetting. All officers previously posted bail in the amounts of $750,000 and have been freed pending trial.

According to reports, as it stands, all four men are scheduled to face trial together in March 2021. However, the judge is weighing a request to have them tried separately. Defense teams for all four former officers have filed motions to move the trial out of Hennepin County to counties outside of the Minneapolis area.

Their argument is that the jury pool has been tainted by the media coverage of Floyd’s death. Fox News reported that at a motions hearing on September 11th, a judge heard oral arguments on multiple motions including changing the venue, joining the four cases into one, and dismissing the cases altogether. 

Attorney’s for Floyd’s family said that Chavuin’s release is a “painful reminder” that they are far from achieving justice for Floyd. Attorneys Ben Crump and Antonio Romanucci said in a joint statement:

“The system of due process worked for Chauvin and afforded him his freedom while he awaits trail. In contrast, George Floyd was denied due process, when his life was ended over a $20 bill. There was no charge, no arrest, no hearing, no bail. Just execution.”

The statement added:

“Although George Floyd was denied justice in life, we will not rest until he is afforded full justice in death. The civil litigation team looks forward to our day in court.”

KTLA reported that upon the news of Chauvin’s release, Governor Tim Walz activated the National Guard to help local law enforcement. Walz said that the Guard was mobilizing 100 soldiers and providing equipment and facilities “out of an abundance of caution” in light of public safety concerns.

Walz added that 100 state troopers and 75 Department of Natural Resources conservation officers were also mobilized to help local authorities. According to authorities, Chauvin had the option of posting bail for $1.25 million without conditions or $1 million with conditions.

Under the conditions of his release, Chauvin must attend all court appearances, cannot have any direct or indirect contact, including social media contact, with any members of Floyd’s family, cannot work in law enforcement or security, and must not possess any firearms or ammunition.

Floyd’s aunt, Angela Harrelson said that she was still trying to process the news.

She said in a statement:

“It’s something that I’m not happy with. I’m not pleased with it, but I know I have to accept it because this is what the judge allowed to happen. I know our family is not happy with this decision.”

It was not immediately clear where Chauvin got the money to pay his bail. In Minnesota, someone who posts bond is required to pay 10 percent.

In Chauvin’s case, that equates to $100,000 and it goes to the bail company. After that, the company and the defendant work out an arraignment for collateral to back all or part of the rest of the bond amount.

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MINNEAPOLIS, MN– On Friday September 11th, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin had his first in-person court appearance at a hearing for the death of George Floyd. 

Chauvin has been charged with second-degree murder. The other three officers that were present during the arrest have also been charged. 

No cameras were allowed at the hearing, however WCCO-TV anchor and journalist Esme Murphy was in the courtroom, and took to Twitter to provide various pieces of information on what was taking place. 

Murphy tweeted that Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill said at the start of the hearing that the defendants’ dismissal requests would not be considered on day one, but went on to say that the legal teams should not “read anything into that,” suggesting dismissal of charges are still possible.

The tweet read:

“Judge in George Floyd case says he will not consider probable cause motions today which means he won’t be deciding motions to dismiss these cases but the Judge also said ‘don’t read anything into that,’”  

It is no surprise that the officers do not want their trials to take place in Minneapolis, as there is bound to be a bias.

Because of this, the defense has requested a change of venue for the trial, however the judge said that there needs to at least be an attempt to assemble a jury before a venue change is considered.

Murphy then reported that: 
 
Defense attorney Paule says ‘I have never had a case [where] the prosecution announces on TV my client is guilty’ – we have a jury that has been told ‘my client is guilty’ as he argues for change of venue #GeorgeFloyd,”
 
Judge Cahill reportedly replied: 
 
“There is not a county or state in this country that has not had publicity in the George Floyd case,” 
 
Defense Attorney Paule fired back with:
 
“We have had cities ablaze because of these cases’ saying jurors in [Minneapolis] will feel pressure to find former officers guilty. Judge is arguing that there should be an attempt to first find a jury in Hennepin County before considering a change of venue [George Floyd] case.”

Murphy also reported that Judge Cahill:

“says he has gotten barrage of calls from the public, most urging him not to dismiss the case,

“seems to be on the side of keeping jury anonymous.”

The defense is pushing for an anonymous jury, using the incident that occurred at union leader Lt. Bob Kroll’s home, and a lead prosecutor having to leave his house over threats.

Murphy tweeted:

“Derek Chauvin attorney Eric Nelson says in first week of case he received more than 1000 unsolicited emails most of them threatening,”

Reporter Paul Blume was also present in the courtroom and tweeted:

Current issue being debated w/ some intensity is matter of an ‘anonymous jury,

“Judge & defense attys sharing stories [about] how often they’ve been threatened & the amount of public scrutiny they’ve [received]. There is real worry abt safety of a potential jury.”

Blume continued:

“Judge reiterated there will be NO DECISION today on dismissing any charges in case. Change of venue motion got lots of time this [morning]. Sounds like Cahill wants to wait on that one, perhaps all way up to trial itself. He indicated he wants to screen a potential local jury pool 1st.”

Another main event in the hearing was the request by defense attorneys to remove Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman

Murphy tweeted:

“Nelson arguing Freeman is potentially a witness because he met with Dr. who performed autopsy on [George Floyd].”

Judge Cahill complied:

 “Judge just disqualified members of the Hennepin County Attorney’s office, including Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman from the case – they could be witnesses – calls their actions ‘sloppy.’”

Chauvin’s defense attorneys then brought up Floyd’s criminal past, which did not please the judge, as he raised his voice, questioning the “relevance” to the case, according to Murphy.

Murphy then reported:

“Defense Attorney Plunkett also wants records of a May 2019 incident in which Plunkett alleges [George Floyd] took drugs during an encounter with police, Defense of all 4 former officers claims Floyd swallowed fentanyl during the fatal encounter,” 

Judge Cahill said:

he will not admit any criminal records involving [George Floyd] when Floyd lived in Texas.”

Judge Cahill also reportedly said a pill was visible’ in George Floyd’s mouth that can been seen on the body camera footage of Thomas Lane.

Although prosecutors say there “is not much there”, the judge ordered Chauvin’s past “incident” to be disclosed to other attorneys.

Before adjourning the hearing, Judge Cahill reportedly said:

prosecutors ‘have made a show of particular cruelty’ in [George Floyd] death – that would be an ‘aggravating factor’ that could allow for a longer sentence if former officers are convicted.”

 

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