At his first court appearance Monday, Minneapolis former policeman, Derek Chauvin, who pressed his knee on George Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes, was granted an unconditional bail of $1.25 million (£1 million).
Initially, Mr Chauvin’s bail was $1 million, but it was upped due to the “severity of the charges” and public outrage, according to the CNN.
But the accused was, upon the urging of the prosecuting counsel, also given an option of $1 million with conditions by Judge Jeannice Reding.
The conditions include Mr Chauvin not contacting George Floyd’s family, being law-abiding, surrendering his firearms and any firearm permit, not working in law enforcement or security capacity, not leaving Minnesota as he awaits trial.
The defence counsel did not object to the bail terms, and June 29 was set for the accused’s next court hearing.
Mr Chauvin participated in Monday’s hearing at the public safety facility in downtown Minneapolis on a video feed from jail, where he has been held for almost two weeks since he was filmed pressing his knee into the neck of an unarmed black man George Floyd, who died in the process.
He appeared at the virtual session handcuffed and wearing an orange jumpsuit and a blue mask as he sat on a small table, with “Yes, your honour” his only words the few times procedural questions were directed to him.
Charged with unintentional second-degree murder and manslaughter and third-degree murder, what is before his counsel is to prove that Mr Chauvin’s action as seen in the video was not what killed George Floyd directly.
For each of those charges, if convicted, the maximum penalties are prison terms of 40, 25 and 10 years respectively.
Although further charges could be brought, it appears unlikely he will be accused of first-degree murder as prosecutors would have to prove premeditation, intent and motive, the Associated Press reported.
It is believed that by bringing multiple charges against the 44-year-old former policeman, who had been in the Force for 19 years, prosecutors widen the chances of a conviction.
Since George Floyd’s name joined the litany of blacks who have been extrajudicially killed by policemen in the United States, the demand for justice and end to police brutality have gained traction across American cities and the world.
GEORGE FLOYD: A TREND?
On Monday, Democrat lawmakers knelt down for nearly nine minutes in a moment of silence in honour of George Floyd at the Capitol in Washington. Later, they introduced sweeping legislation on police reform.
Some state mayors are also considering “defunding” their police forces. A veto-proof majority of the city council in Minneapolis has publicly expressed support for disbanding the city’s force. Mayors in Los Angeles and New York promised to funnel some funds from the police to community programs, USAToday reported.
In Europe, the agitations took a different twist as demonstrators are asking authorities to revisit the continent’s pro-racism past.
In Bristol, a city in the southwest of England, images on social media showed anti-racism protesters toppling a 125-year-old bronze statue of Edward Colston, a notorious 17th-century slave trader, and a prominent philanthropic shareholder in Royal African Company, England’s sole slaving company at the time.
Protesters knelt on the statue for eight minutes before rolling it into a nearby harbour.
In Ghent, capital of East Flanders, one of Belgium’s ten provinces, protesters also defaced the statues and busts of King Leopold II, Belgium’s longest-reigning monarch notorious for his brutal regime in the Congo Free State (now DR Congo), which killed over 10 million Congolese.
Some authorities in those countries said the actions of the protesters are “criminal”, but protesters said the monuments are a kick in their faces as they haunt their memories about how their forefathers were enslaved.
Yet, authorities insisted that democratic procedures be taken to address the issue, but the agitators said democratic discussions around the “monuments” have for decades remained within the realm of petitions, columns and unyielding debates.
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