Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was released from jail after posting $1 million bail, coming months after he was seen kneeling on the neck of George Floyd before his death, setting off nationwide riots and protests.
Chauvin was charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and manslaughter in Floyd’s death. He was released from the Oak Park Heights jail, where he was being held since late May, said a Minnesota Department of Corrections spokesperson to Fox9.
The Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office, in a notice of release (pdf) on Wednesday, said Chauvin was released after he paid a $1 million bond and is now required by law to appear in court in March 2021. A court document (pdf) showed that he paid the bond on Wednesday.
Following Floyd’s death on Memorial Day, Attorney General Keith Ellison announced charges against three other officers involved in Floyd’s death. Former officers Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng, and Tou Thao are all charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder.
Chauvin can face up to 40 years in prison if he is convicted of second-degree murder.
The four officers were terminated from the department following Floyd’s death and the subsequent outcry.
Chauvin’s attorney and attorneys for the other officers have argued that Floyd had contracted COVID-19, the disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, and also had a high level of fentanyl in his system. The Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s office, days after Floyd’s death, confirmed (pdf) fentanyl intoxication contributed to Floyd’s death.
His cause of death was listed as “cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression,” while his manner of death was listed by the office as “homicide.”
In August, Earl Gray, the attorney for former officer Gray, filed a motion in court that alleged Floyd contributed to his own death by consuming a lethal dose of fentanyl, Fox9 in Minneapolis reported.
“All he had to do is sit in the police car, like every other defendant who is initially arrested. While attempting to avoid his arrest, all by himself, Mr. Floyd overdosed on Fentanyl,” Gray wrote in the motion. “Given his intoxication level, breathing would have been difficult at best. Mr. Floyd’s intentional failure to obey commands, coupled with his overdosing, contributed to his own death.”
Footage captured on Lane’s bodycamera showed Floyd, a convicted felon with a lengthy criminal history, had a “white spot on the left side of his tongue” that appears to show “2 milligrams of fentanyl, a lethal dose,” according to the lawyer.
Independent investigators hired by the Floyd family said he died in a homicide at the scene of the incident as a result of officer Derek Chauvin’s knee on his neck, which was depicted in a now-viral video and sparked months of nationwide unrest.
The three other officers previously posted bail amounts of $750,000 and are free, awaiting their trial dates. All four are scheduled to face trial together in March.