Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin has had his bail set at $1.25 million in his first court appearance. On Memorial Day, Chauvin’s use of a chokehold led to the death of an unarmed man, George Floyd, who pled with the officer that he couldn’t breathe.
A video of the incident went viral, shocking, and outraging the public. A massive protest movement took hold in the days following Floyd’s death.
As those protests continue into their third week, Chauvin, 44, is facing down serious charges. He has been charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and manslaughter. If he is found guilty of these charges, he could spend the rest of his natural life in jail.
Bail Set for Officer in Controversial Case
The very high-profile court case is receiving outsized attention for Chauvin’s notoriety. During the hearing, he appeared before the court in the form of a video conference. Being conferenced in from prison, he could be seen wearing a blue facemask and an orange prison jumpsuit. The judge, Jeannice Reding, set unconditional bail to $1.25 million.
With conditions, Chauvin could post bail for $1 million. Those conditions would include forfeiting all of his firearms and vowing to have no contact with Floyd’s family. Notably, the conditions would also require Chauvin not to work in any capacity as a police officer or security guard while out on bail. It is unclear if he will be able to post.
Chauvin Case Draws International Attention
The case against Chauvin has drawn international attention. The viral video in which Chauvin pins Floyd grabbed headlines worldwide. Chauvin’s infamy only grew as the protests decrying police brutality continued for two weeks. Now, news outlets all over the world are reporting on his case.
During the bail hearing, Chauvin’s lawyer, Eric Nelson, made no argument against the extremely high bail amounts. He requested that a hearing be set for June 29. Chauvin did not enter a plea during the hearing. It is unclear if he intends to plead not guilty or guilty, though the June 29 hearing could see him entering a plea.
Other Officers Charged
Three other officers that were on the scene when Floyd was killed have also been charged. All three were charged with aiding and abetting murder, a serious crime that could carry as much as forty years in prison.
Meanwhile, the Minneapolis City Council has vowed to dissolve the existing police department and start fresh. The city promises to start anew with a focus on public safety over-policing.