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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO/AP) — Former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin has been released from a correctional facility Wednesday and has posted bail, which means that he’s the last of the four officers currently facing charges connected to the death of George Floyd to have been released from custody.
Chauvin, 44, was being held at Minnesota Correctional Facility-Oak Park Heights, where he had been also appearing in court remotely for all but the most recent hearing during which he and the other three officers charged — J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao — appeared in person. WCCO has learned that Chauvin left the facility at 9:40 a.m. Wednesday to be transferred to Hennepin County Jail in order to post bail, and left the jail at 11:22 a.m.
Chauvin had been at the maximum security prison in Oak Park Heights since late May.
Chauvin’s $1 million bond comes with conditions: he can’t leave the state without written court approval, he’s to have no contact with Floyd’s family, he must remain law abiding and make future court appearances. According to state court records, Chauvin posted a non-cash bond guaranteed by Allegheny Casualty.
“He’s financially responsible for a small portion of it. They are the surety that’s on the hook if he were to violate it,” Rachel Moran, associate professor at St. Thomas School of Law, said. “He used a company out of Brainerd that appears to have gotten assurity from a bond insurance company in California. So it’s that bond insurance company in California that’s actually funding this and is on this hook if Chauvin were to somehow violate conditions of the bond.”
Moran said posting bond is a legal right.
“He’s presumed innocent, even if there is significant video evidence, he’s presumed innocent,” Moran said. “As part of that presumption of innocence, most — the vast majority of cases — do have a bailable amount that if you can post, that you are allowed to remain free pending trial.”
WCCO reached out to Chauvin’s attorney about his release, and he had no comment. Ben Crump, attorney for the Floyd family, tweeted the following:
Derek Chauvin posted a $1M bail today – buying his freedom after robbing George Floyd of his life over $20. His release on bond is a painful reminder to George’s family that we are still far from achieving justice. pic.twitter.com/LONbzSgimj
— Ben Crump (@AttorneyCrump) October 7, 2020
Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter. Video that was taken by a witness at the scene of Floyd’s Memorial Day death — outside of Cup Foods on 38th Street South and Chicago Avenue — shows Chauvin with his knee pressed down on Floyd’s neck for almost eight minutes. The video sparked days of protest and violence in Minneapolis and demonstrations around the world.
Prosecution documents in the case against four former Minneapolis police officers charged in the death of Floyd show Chauvin had seven prior incidents of using neck or head and upper body restraints on arrestees, including four in which prosecutors say he went too far.
Chauvin’s attorney has argued that Floyd was positive for COVID-19, and that his death was the result of very high levels of fentanyl and methamphetamine in his system.
Chauvin faces over 12 years in prison if he’s convicted of unintentional second-degree murder.
Additionally, prosecutors have also charged Chauvin, and his estranged wife, with several counts of tax evasion for allegedly lying about their income.
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