Derek Chauvin set to make first court appearance
Derek Chauvin, the Minneapolis police officer charged with second-degree murder in the death of George Floyd, is set to make his first court appearance in the case Monday.
Chauvin will appear before the Hennepin County District Court at 12:45 p.m. He is facing charges for second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter after using his knee to pin Floyd to the ground by his neck for nearly nine minutes while Floyd was in custody. The court appearance comes two weeks after Floyd died on May 25.
“About nine days ago, the world watched Floyd utter his last words, ‘I can’t breathe,’ as he pleaded for his life. The world heard Floyd call out for his mama and cry out, ‘Don’t kill me,'” Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison said on Wednesday when he announced he was elevating the charges against Chauvin to include second-degree murder.
“The very fact that we have filed these charges means that we believe in them,” he added.
Three other officers who were present as Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck — Tou Thao, Thomas Lane and J.A.Keung — have also been charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder. They are set to first appear before a judge on June 29.
Chauvin’s Monday court appearance will happen remotely via video. Fox 9 reported last week that Chauvin had been transported to Oak Heights Prison, a maximum-security facility in Minnesota.
Minnesota Assistant Attorney General Matthew Frank will represent Minnesota in the Monday hearing, according to a court filing. Ellison announced last week that his office would be taking over the case, but that he would continue working with the Hennepin County district attorney’s office.
Video of Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck sparked national outcry and led to widespread protests against racial inequality and police brutality. Some of those protests became violent riots complete with looting and physical confrontations with police, particularly after dark.
The militarized police presence used to quell unrest in many big cities became a controversy unto itself, leading multiple high-profile current and former military figures to break with President Trump either implicitly or explicitly on the use of force against Americans.
Floyd’s death also sparked an announcement over the weekend by a veto-proof majority of the Minneapolis City Council that they would move to “end our city’s toxic relationship with the Minneapolis Police Department,” according to City Council President Lisa Bender. Jeremiah Ellison, also a member of the council, has vowed to “dismantle” the department.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said over the weekend that he does not support abolishing the police in his city, and was booed and shouted down by protesters for making that declaration.
Fox News’ Edmund DeMarche contributed to this report.