Bail Set At $1 Million For Three Ex-Officers Charged In George Floyd’s Death
(CNN) — A judge on Thursday set bail for three former Minneapolis police officers charged in George Floyd’s death at $1 million each, or $750,000 under certain conditions, including that they do not work in law enforcement or have any contact with Floyd’s family.
J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao appeared in court one day after they were arrested and charged with second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.
The charges follow those first brought against Derek Chauvin, the officer who pinned Floyd to the ground by his neck for nearly 9 minutes.
Chauvin, 44, was arrested last week and charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. But on Wednesday prosecutors charged him with a more serious count of second-degree murder.
Lane and Kueng helped restrain Floyd, while Thao stood nearby.
All three officers appeared before Judge Paul R. Scoggin wearing orange prison uniforms and masks. Each stood inside a cubicle at a downtown Minneapolis courtroom.
They were seen behind a plexiglass window with a hole to speak through. Several family members were allowed in the courtroom for each officer’s appearance.
Thao appeared first. His lawyer noted that Thao provided a statement to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and turned himself in when an arrest warrant was issued.
Kueng’s attorney, Thomas Plunkett, offered condolences to the Floyd family. He said his client was on his third shift as a police officer when the incident with Floyd took place. Plunkett said Kueng turned to Chauvin at one point and said, “You can’t do this.”
Lane’s attorney argued he was not a threat to the community, had a wife and had worked with youth in the area. Lane had been on the police force for four days when Floyd died, according to the attorney, who added that Lane was “doing everything he thought he was supposed to do as a four-day police officer.”
All defense lawyers argued for lower bail.
While officers are rarely convicted of on-duty killings, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison said he’s confident the evidence supports new and more serious charges.
“George Floyd mattered. He was loved. His family was important. His life had value,” Ellison said. “We will seek justice for him and for you, and we will find it.”
First Of Several Memorials Held
Meanwhile, Floyd’s family and friends gathered for a memorial at North Central University in Minneapolis, the first of several memorials planned in Floyd’s honor in the coming days.
Civil rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson, Democratic Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar, Martin Luther King III and actor Kevin Hart were among the attendees. Shortly before the memorial, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey approached Floyd’s casket and was seen crying.
Many attendees wore masks.
At one point, the congregation stood for 8 minutes and 46 seconds — the amount of time Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck.
Rev. Al Sharpton denounced racism during the eulogy, saying, “What happened to Floyd happens every day” in all areas of American life.
“The reason we could never be who we wanted to be and dreamed of being is you kept your knee on our neck,” Sharpton said. “We don’t want no favors, just get up off of us.”
Sharpton said a march for criminal justice reform would be held in Washington, D.C., on August 28 — the 57th anniversary of the iconic March on Washington, where Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his speech, “I Have a Dream.”
“We need to go back to Washington and stand up, black, white, Latino, Arab, in the shadows of Lincoln and tell them this is the time to stop this,” Sharpton said.
Protests Go On Hours After Arrests
Protests on Wednesday showed no signs of abating hours after officials arrested and charged Kueng, Lane and Thao.
Most protests remained peaceful, unlike previous nights, when violence and looting broke out. Demonstrators chanted Floyd’s name, marched and called for an end to police brutality.
In Minneapolis, at the spot where Floyd spent his last moments begging for his life, a sense of calm prevailed Wednesday night. A man rolled up a piano at the scene and played John Legend’s “All of Me.”
Another man stepped up to the piano afterward and played “Imagine” by John Lennon. People cried, clapped and sang along. Others brought free food, water and diapers for protesters, CNN’s Sara Sidner reported.
In New York, nearly 100 people were arrested when scuffles broke out between police and crowds in downtown Manhattan, where crowds remained early Thursday, long past the 8 p.m. curfew. Protesters mostly knelt and sat on the ground with their hands raised.
New York Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said on Thursday his city “absolutely” does not need active duty US military soldiers to control the protests. President Donald Trump on Monday vowed to use the military if widespread violence continues.
In the nation’s capital, protesters marched through the early morning and quietly faced off with National Guard troops, before gathering a few blocks from the White House. The city’s mayor said the curfew would not be enforced as long as the protesters remained peaceful.
There were no arrests made in Washington, D.C., Wednesday night, according to Metropolitan Police Chief Peter Newsham. Newsham said there were no police injuries and there was no damage to police property.
The capital will not impose a curfew Thursday night, officials said.
In New Orleans police fired tear gas to disperse protesters who police say defied orders to not walk across the Crescent City Connection, a bridge that stretches across the Mississippi River.
“We were compelled to deploy gas … in response to escalating, physical confrontation with our officers,” the New Orleans Police Department tweeted.
The protests against Floyd’s death have touched a nerve across the world and sparked solidarity demonstrations in cities such as Paris, highlighting the issue of racism in different countries.
Final County Autopsy Contradicts Family’s
In the meantime, officials released more details on Floyd’s autopsy.
His death was due to cardiopulmonary arrest — or the stopping of his heart — according to the final autopsy results released Wednesday by the Hennepin County Medical Examiner.
His neck was compressed when the officer’s knee was on it for more than eight minutes, the report says, but does not conclude that it directly caused his death.
The final report from the medical examiner says Floyd had bruises and cuts on his head, face, mouth, shoulders, arms and legs. But it finds no evidence that any of those injuries directly would have killed him.
The autopsy says Floyd had heart disease and a history of high blood pressure. A preliminary toxicology report found moderate levels of fentanyl and methamphetamine.
The county autopsy also indicates that Floyd had tested positive for coronavirus in April.
But an independent autopsy commissioned by the Floyd family disagreed with the county’s conclusion, saying he died of “asphyxiation from sustained pressure.”
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