Derek Chauvin, the disgraced former Minneapolis officer who was filmed kneeling on George Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes despite the latter pleading he could not breathe in the full glare of the public, was released from custody on Wednesday after posting a $1 million bond.
His release means all the four officers charged in the death of the 46-year-old African-American father are currently out on bail.
Chauvin was arrested May 29 on initial third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter charges. The murder charge was later upgraded to second-degree unintentional murder. The other three former officers who were also involved in the May 25 incident – Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao – are also facing aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter charges.
According to NBC News, the notice of Chauvin’s release that was filed in court states he has been granted a conditional release, with his next court appearance scheduled for March 2021. The accused also posted a non-cash bond.
Following Chauvin’s release, the Minnesota National Guard announced Gov. Tim Walz had activated its soldiers “out of an abundance of caution” on Wednesday. “The Soldiers will report for duty and stage in preparation for potential response in support of local law enforcement pending specific mission requests,” the group tweeted.
Out of an abundance of caution, Soldiers from the @MNNationalGuard are being activated by @GovTimWalz under Executive Order. The Soldiers will report for duty and stage in preparation for potential response in support of local law enforcement pending specific mission requests. pic.twitter.com/As09Fvf3M6— MN National Guard (@MNNationalGuard) October 7, 2020
Floyd lost his life while being apprehended by the four officers after they were called to a grocery store over reports he had tried to pass a fake $20 bill to buy cigarettes. Lane and Keung were the first to arrive at the scene following the complaint.
Per released camera footage from the two officers, Floyd, who was in his car when they approached him, was told to step out of the vehicle. He was later seen pleading with the officers in the minutes leading up to his death. Floyd passed after Derek Chauvin was filmed kneeling on his neck for several minutes while cuffed.
Other footages of the incident showed Floyd pleading that he could not breathe, but Chauvin did not budge, even when bystanders appealed to him to remove his knee from Floyd’s neck. The other three officers did not also intervene.
“Please, please, please, I can’t breathe,” Floyd was heard saying. “My stomach hurts. My neck hurts. Please, please. I can’t breathe.”
Even when Floyd became unresponsive, Chauvin still had his knee on his neck despite continued concerns from onlookers. The officers were even asked to check his pulse but ignored until paramedics arrived.
Floyd’s death triggered a wave of nationwide protests against police brutality and racial discrimination in the United States with people calling for swift reforms. The protests eventually spread to other countries.