A Minneapolis judge on Monday set $1 million (approximately Rs 7.55 crore) as the bail amount for former police officer Derek Chauvin, charged with killing George Floyd on May 25, AFP reported. Floyd’s death has sparked international outrage with many protests turning violent across the United States.
On Monday, Chauvin made his first appearance in court via video from the Minnesota state prison, while facing charges of one count of second-degree murder, one count of third-degree murder, and another of manslaughter.
Hennepin County District Court Judge Jeannice Reding set Chauvin’s bail at $1 million with conditions, and $1.25 million (around Rs 9.43 crore) without any. To meet the conditions, Chauvin will have to surrender his firearms, not work in law enforcement or security in any capacity, agree to not leave the state and have no contact with Floyd’s family. The next hearing in the case is scheduled for June 29.
State Prosecutor Matthew Frank had asked for a high bail amount, citing that Chauvin was a flight-risk due to the severe charges and public outrage.
On May 25, four police officials detained Floyd after he had allegedly used a counterfeit bill at a store in Minnesota. Protests grew after a widely shared video showed Chauvin kneeling for almost nine minutes on Floyd’s neck. Floyd was seen gasping for breath, pleading with the officials saying, “I can’t breathe”. He died on the spot. An autopsy found that he died of asphyxiation due to neck and back compression.
The three other police officers were charged with aiding and abetting the murder. They are currently lodged in a local jail. All four police officers were fired a day after Floyd’s death.
People pay last respects
Meanwhile, amid widepsread protests, thousands of mourners on Monday went to a church in Floyd’s native Houston to pay their last respects, AP reported. Floyd’s body, dressed in a brown suit in an open gold-coloured casket, was kept at The Fountain of Praise Church in Texas.
A funeral-style procession of cars went through streets in Los Angeles, as people paid their last respects in Houston. In Tennessee, residents of Memphis city observed a moment of silence.
Republican party leader and Texas Governor Greg Abbott said: “George Floyd is going to change the arc of the future of the United States. George Floyd has not died in vain. His life will be a living legacy about the way that America and Texas responds to this tragedy.”
In United States’ Washington state, Democrats in Congress proposed an overhaul of police oversight and also procedures that will include a nationwide ban on choke holds.
In Paris, France’s top security official said that the police will no longer conduct choke holds, a move that has been blamed for multiple cases of asphyxiation.
Donald Trump rules out defunding police departments
Meanwhile, United States President Donald Trump on Monday ruled out dismantling or defunding the police departments in cities.
“There won’t be defunding,” Trump said. “There won’t be dismantling of our police. And there’s not going to be any disbanding of our police. Our police have been letting us live in peace.”
The president’s remarks came as nine members of the Minneapolis City Council on Sunday pledged to defund and dismantle the city’s police department following Floyd’s death, vowing to create a new system of public safety.
Justin Trudeau defends his presence at rally
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau defended his attendance at a “Black Lives Matter” protest, saying he went to the rally to “show support and listen to what community leaders and Black Canadians are calling for”. Trudeau took a knee at an event in Ottawa in memory of Floyd, amid the restrictions on mass gatherings across the country during the coronavirus pandemic.
Opposition leader Andrew Scheer tweeted that Canadians had the right to be angry after seeing Trudeau attend the gathering amid coronavirus-induced restrictions. “For months, they’ve been told not to visit sick relatives,” Scheer said. “They’ve watched life savings evaporate, lost businesses and missed important milestones. Trudeau attended a mass public gathering despite his own hypocrisy. You deserve better.”