The presiding judge in the criminal case facing Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer captured on camera kneeling on George Floyd’s neck for nearly 9 minutes–ultimately killing him—has adjusted the terms of Chauvin’s recently posted bail so the defendant can leave Minnesota and live in another state.
Judge Peter Cahill made the updated court order a day after Chauvin’s release from prison on Wednesday on a $1 million bond, reports the Washington Post. Nearly 50 people were arrested in Minneapolis during protests on Wednesday in response to Chauvin’s release.
Though the conditions of his bail required Chauvin to remain in Minnesota, Cahill ruled to change this restriction on the basis of “evidence supporting safety conditions that have arisen.”
From the Washington Post:
The order says Chauvin should “establish residency somewhere in the state of Minnesota or a contiguous state” — Iowa, the Dakotas or Wisconsin — and provide the address to the court, prosecutors and law enforcement officials who will share the information on a “need to know basis” only. The court record will reflect that the “defendant has no permanent address,” Cahill ruled.
Chauvin, 44, was transferred from a state prison where he had been held since his arrest in late May to the Hennepin County Jail on Wednesday, when he posted a conditional $1 million bond. The terms of the bond restricted him from leaving the state, a fairly typical condition in a murder case. Chauvin was the last of the four former Minneapolis police officers charged in Floyd’s death to be released from jail on bond.
Chauvin is facing charges of second-degree murder and manslaughter for his role in Floyd’s gruesome death. His attorney, and those representing the three other Minneapolis police officers seen on video standing watch as Floyd cried out for his mother with Chauvin’s knee on his neck, have asked that the trial for the case be moved out of Hennepin County, Minnesota, claiming concerns about safety and jury impartiality due to the protests against the officers which have continued in the city.
Ben Crump, the attorney representing the Floyd family, has challenged the veracity of these claims, and in a statement on Friday lambasted Judge Cahill’s court order allowing Chauvin to move out of state.
“The fact that Derek Chauvin is being given special treatment out of concern for his safety demonstrates how stark the contrast is between the two justice systems in America,” said Crump. “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. Yet, the man charged with killing him will roam free across state lines.”
This isn’t the first suggestion that Chauvin is getting special treatment in the justice system. In June, Black corrections officers at a Minneapolis jail where he was being held filed a lawsuit alleging that their supervisors barred them from dealing with Chauvin in order to replace them with their white co-workers.
A tentative date for the trial of Chauvin and his fellow former Minneapolis police officers, J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas K. Lane and Tou Thao, has been set for March 2021.