MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A judge on Monday kept bail at $1 million for a former Minneapolis police officer charged with second-degree murder in George Floyd’s death.
Derek Chauvin, 44, said little during an 11-minute hearing in which he appeared before Hennepin County Judge Jeannice M. Reding on closed-circuit television from the state’s maximum security prison in Oak Park Heights. He wore a mask and handcuffs as he sat at a table, where he answered yes or no to routine housekeeping questions and confirmed the spelling of his name and address. He did not enter a plea, a step that usually comes later in Minnesota courts.
A judge raised Chauvin’s bail from $500,000 to $1 million when a second-degree murder charge was added on Wednesday. Monday’s hearing was a chance for arguments over the higher bail. Prosecutor Matthew Frank argued for keeping the higher bail, saying the seriousness of the charges and the “strong reaction in the community, to put it mildly,” made Chauvin a flight risk. The judge agreed with the state’s request for $1.25 million unconditional bail, or $1 million with standard conditions including surrendering firearms, remaining law-abiding and making all future court appearances.
Chauvin’s attorney, Eric Nelson, did not contest the bail amount and didn’t address the substance of the charges, which also include third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
Nelson did not speak with reporters afterward. He has not commented on the case publicly since Chauvin’s May 29 arrest.
Attorneys for two of the three other ex-officers charged in the case made it clear at separate first appearances for their clients on Thursday that a key element of their defenses will be to argue that their clients were rookies who tried to intervene verbally to help Floyd, but that they had no choice but to defer to Chauvin, the most senior officer at the scene.
Chauvin’s next appearance was set for June 29.
Floyd, a handcuffed black man, died May 25 after the white police officer pressed his knee into his neck for several minutes even after Floyd stopped moving and pleading for air. His death set off protests, some violent, in Minneapolis that swiftly spread to cities around the U.S. and the globe. Chauvin and three other officers on the scene were fired the day after Floyd’s death.