Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin has permission to leave Minnesota for any of four bordering states for his own safety following his release from jail, a judge ordered.
Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill, who is presiding over the trial of Chauvin on second-degree murder and manslaughter charges in the death of George Floyd, modified his release conditions Thursday without a public hearing, citing unspecified safety concerns that were presented to him in secret. Until Wednesday, Chauvin was held at a state prison in Oak Park Heights but was released after posting bail on a $1 million bond. Initially, the conditions of his release barred him from leaving the state.
Cahill’s order, made public Friday morning, says Chauvin will be listed as having no permanent address but could reside in an adjacent state providing he keeps a cellphone with him at all times and stays in touch with the Department of Corrections and other state authorities. It says Chauvin’s whereabouts will be restricted on a “need-to-know basis.”
Chauvin and his wife, Kellie Chauvin, who has filed for divorce, previously owned a home in Oakdale, but they sold it in August. He has relatives in Iowa.
In the days after Floyd’s death, the Oakdale home was the site of days of protests, part of widespread unrest that resulted in substantial destruction, including the burning of the Third Precinct police headquarters in south Minneapolis, where Chauvin and the three other officers accused in Floyd’s death were stationed.
Chauvin’s release prompted Gov. Tim Walz to activate 100 National Guard members in anticipation of violent protests.
On Wednesday and Thursday, hundreds of people marched down the streets of Minneapolis and St. Paul, calling Chauvin’s release pending trial another example of inequality in the justice system.
It is unclear who paid for Chauvin’s bail. Court documents show his $1 million conditional bond was secured through A-Affordable Bail Bonds of Brainerd, Minn. Under Minnesota law, bond companies are not required to disclose who secured the bond or how much was paid in advance. A man who answered the phone at A-Affordable would not even confirm his agency posted for Chauvin.
Chauvin was the last of four former officers involved in Floyd’s death to be released pending trial, which is scheduled to begin March 8 in Hennepin County District Court. Each of the other former officers, J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao, is charged with aiding and abetting murder and manslaughter. All four have filed motions to dismiss the charges against them.
Last week, Kueng attorney Thomas Plunkett filed a memorandum in support of his earlier motion to move the trial out of the Twin Cities, saying “violent rioters” threatened the defendants and attorneys as they walked from the courthouse after a hearing last month. All four defendants were in attendance.
Floyd died following his arrest on suspicion of passing counterfeit bills at a Cup Foods convenience store in south Minneapolis. The medical examiner ruled his death a homicide, at least partly because of the police apprehension and restraint methods.
The killing, captured on a bystander’s cellphone video, went viral on the internet, prompting worldwide outrage and civil unrest in Minnesota and across the country.
Staff writer Andy Mannix contributed to this report.