Judge Lets Chauvin Live Out of State While Awaiting Trial, Citing Safety Concerns

Judge Lets Chauvin Live Out of State While Awaiting Trial, Citing Safety Concerns
Derek Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer, in a mugshot on May 31, 2020. (Hennepin County Sheriff via AP)
Tom Ozimek

A Minnesota judge on Friday issued new conditions for the release of ex-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, charged in the death of George Floyd, allowing him to live out of state while awaiting trial.

Chauvin was released from the maximum security prison where he was being held on Wednesday, after posting a $1 million bond. His release triggered two nights of protest in Minneapolis and St. Paul, prompting Gov. Tim Walz to mobilize National Guard troops and state law enforcement to cope with the unrest.

Citing evidence introduced by the Corrections Department “supporting safety concerns that have arisen,” Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill issued new conditions for Chauvin’s release, stating in an order released Friday that he “must establish residency somewhere in the state of Minnesota or a contiguous state as soon as possible.”

Under the new conditions, Chauvin is required to provide his supervising officer with his address, which will be shared with local law enforcement, but otherwise kept confidential. Chauvin also has to surrender his passport and must remain reachable via cellphone at all times by Department of Corrections officials.

The new terms were agreed to by both the prosecution and defense teams, according to Cahill’s order.

Chauvin has been charged with second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter in connection with the May 25 incident in which the former officer was caught on video pressing his knee against the neck of Floyd, who was on the ground handcuffed and pleading for air. Floyd later died.

Three other former Minneapolis police officers, fired following the incident, also face charges in the case. Thomas Lane, J. Kueng, and Tou Thao are charged with aiding and abetting both second-degree murder and manslaughter. They have been released on bond and await their trial, set for March of next year. All four men are scheduled to face trial together, although the judge is reportedly considering a request for them to be tried separately.

Protests following Chauvin’s release on bail on Wednesday began peacefully, but later tensions arose outside a Minneapolis police station, leading to 51 arrests, including 49 for misdemeanors, one on a felony warrant, and another for fourth-degree assault.

Floyd family attorneys Ben Crump and Antonio Romanucci released a joint statement following Chauvin’s release on bail, calling it “a painful reminder” that justice has yet to be served.

“The system of due process worked for Chauvin and afforded him his freedom while he awaits trial. In contrast, George Floyd was denied due process when his life was ended over a $20 bill. There was no charge, no arrest, no hearing, no bail. Just execution,” the attorneys wrote.

Crump and Romanucci released a statement following Chauvin’s updated release conditions, writing, “Can you imagine a black man awaiting trial for murder being allowed to leave the state out of concern for his safety?”

“The police were not concerned about George Floyd’s safety even as he was handcuffed, face down on the ground with his breath and life being slowly extinguished,” they wrote.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Tom Ozimek is a senior reporter for The Epoch Times. He has a broad background in journalism, deposit insurance, marketing and communications, and adult education.
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