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The former Minneapolis police officer accused of killing George Floyd, igniting nationwide outrage and massive protest movements, did not enter a plea in his first court appearance.
Derek Chauvin, who is charged with second-degree murder in Floyd's death, appeared in court on Monday afternoon via video conference, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Prosecutor Matthew Frank argued the “severity of the charges” made Chauvin a potential flight risk, asking his bail without conditions to be raised from $1 million to $1.25 million.
Chauvin, 44, and his attorney did not object to the motion in the short and largely procedural 15-minute hearing. In total, the former police officer faces charges of second-degree murder without intent, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter. He did not enter a plea during the hearing.
Initially, Chauvin was charged with third-degree murder in the death of Floyd. After Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison's office took over prosecution of the case, charges against Chauvin were upgraded and three police officers present for Floyd's apparent killing were also charged.
Chauvin’s former colleagues, J Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane, and Tou Thao, are charged with aiding and abetting murder. All four police officers were fired by the city a few days after the release of disturbing video showing Chauvin kneeling on Floyd's neck for a long period of time while Floyd protests he cannot breathe until he becomes unresponsive.
Chauvin allegedly pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes, according to a criminal complaint obtained by CBS News. Chauvin also allegedly refused a suggestion to move off Floyd's neck by another officer.
Floyd's death sparked a series of nationwide — and sometimes violent — protests that have sparked numerous additional accusations of police brutality in other city police departments.
The protests have also sparked change in a number of cities, with Minneapolis City Council announcing they support disbanding the city police department and the city of Philadelphia removing a statue of controversial former Mayor Frank Rizzo.
"It is clear that our system of policing is not keeping our communities safe," Minneapolis City Council President Lisa Bender said, according to the Associated Press. "Our efforts at incremental reform have failed, period."
Chauvin is due back in court on June 29.
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