Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who was charged with killing African-American man George Floyd in May, was released on a $1 million (approximately Rs 7.55 crore) bail on Wednesday, Reuters reported.
Chauvin was charged with second and third-degree murder and manslaughter. The former policeman was seen on video kneeling on Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes as he died.
Floyd’s family lawyers said the bail order indicated that justice was still far away. “Derek Chauvin’s release on bond is a painful reminder to George Floyd’s family that we are still far from achieving justice for George,” they were quoted as saying by the news agency.
Hundreds of peaceful protesters came out on the streets of Minneapolis after Chauvin’s release, CBS Minnesota reported. Several of them were arrested.
Three other officers involved in Floyd’s death – J Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao – were also charged with aiding and abetting both second-degree murder and manslaughter.
Earlier in the day, Governor Tim Walz had activated the Minnesota National Guard to prepare for potential agitations in the state.
On May 25, four police officials detained Floyd after he had allegedly used a counterfeit bill at a store in Minnesota. One of them, Derek Chauvin, kneeled on Floyd’s neck as the others watched and did nothing to stop him, though passersby stopped to question the officers. Floyd was unarmed. Protests grew after a widely shared video showed Chauvin kneeling for almost nine minutes on Floyd, as the African-American was seen pleading with the officials saying, “I can’t breathe”. He died on the spot.
An autopsy commissioned for Floyd’s family found that he died of asphyxiation due to neck and back compression. The autopsy showed that the compression cut off blood to Floyd’s brain, and that the pressure of other officers’ knees on his back made it impossible for him to breathe, his attorney Ben Crump said.