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Society

Officer Charged in Floyd’s Death Has 1st Court Appearance

MINNEAPOLIS — The Minneapolis police officer charged with second-degree murder in George Floyd's death was scheduled to make his first court appearance Monday.

Derek Chauvin, 44, is also charged  with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in Floyd's May 25 death. Floyd, a handcuffed black man, died after the white police officer pressed his knee into his neck for several minutes even after Floyd stopped moving and pleading for air. 

Floyd's death set off protests, some violent, in Minneapolis that swiftly spread to cities around the U.S. and the globe. Chauvin and three other officers on the scene were fired the day after Floyd's death. 

Chauvin is being held at a state prison in Oakdale. The other three officers — J. Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao — are charged with aiding and abetting.  They remain in the Hennepin County jail on $750,000 bond.

Lane's family has set up a website seeking donations to help him post bond. The site highlights Lane's relative lack of experience — he had only recently completed his probationary period — and his questions to Chauvin about whether Floyd should be rolled onto his side. It also noted his volunteer work. 

Floyd's death has ignited calls to reform the Minneapolis Police Department, which community activists have long accused of entrenched racial discrimination and brutality. A majority of Minneapolis City Council members said Sunday that they favor disbanding the department entirely, though they have yet to offer concrete plans for what would replace it.

"Nobody is saying we want to abolish health or safety," Council Member Alondra Cano told WCCO-AM on Monday. "What we are saying is we have a broken system that is not producing the outcomes we want."

The state last week launched a civil rights investigation of the department. On Friday, the council approved a stipulated agreement that immediately banned the use of chokeholds and neck restraints and included several other changes. That investigation is ongoing.

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