The former Minneapolis police officer charged with murder in the death of George Floyd posted bail on Wednesday and was released from prison.
According to court documents, Derek Chauvin posted $1.5 million bond, and the Department of Corrections confirmed he was no longer in custody at the state's facility in Oak Park Heights, where he had been detained.
Floyd, a black man in handcuffs, died May 25 after Chauvin, who is white, pressed his knee against Floyd's neck for several minutes as Floyd said he couldn't breathe. Floyd's death was captured in widely seen bystander video that set off protests around the world.
Chauvin and three other officers were fired. Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder and other crimes; Thomas Lane, J. Kueng and Tou Thao are charged with aiding and abetting.
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The other three officers previously posted bail amounts of US$750,000 and have been free pending trial. Currently, all four men are scheduled to face trial together in March, but the judge is weighing a request to have them tried separately.
Last week, an attorney for J. Kueng reiterated his request for the trial to be moved, saying the defendants and lawyers were harassed and threatened by protesters after a September hearing in the case.
Tom Plunkett said in a court filing that defense attorneys and their clients were harassed on their way to and from the courthouse on Sept. 11, and that at least one attorney was physically assaulted.
He argued that holding the trial in Hennepin County would not be safe for participants, witnesses could be intimidated and jurors could be affected by chants from the crowd, which were audible during the last hearing.
Attorneys for all four men have said pretrial publicity has made it impossible for them to receive a fair trial in Hennepin County, and they have asked for the trial to be moved. Judge Peter Cahill has not ruled on that request.
Plunkett wrote that the "riotous crowd" showed the men can't get a fair trial in Hennepin County, and that "the Court simply cannot control the rioters and protesters who have taken to the streets of Minneapolis."
- Associated Press