MINNEAPOLIS – The former Minneapolis police officer charged with murder in the death of George Floyd posted bail Wednesday and was released from state prison, leading Minnesota's governor to activate the National Guard to help keep the peace in the event of protests.
According to court documents, Derek Chauvin posted a $1 million bond and was released from the state's facility in Oak Park Heights, where he had been detained. Hennepin County jail records show he was released shortly before 11:30 a.m.
Floyd, a Black man in handcuffs, died May 25 after Chauvin, who is white, pressed his knee against Floyd’s neck for several minutes as Floyd said he couldn’t breathe. Floyd’s death was captured in widely seen bystander video that set off protests around the world. Chauvin and three other officers were fired. Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter; Thomas Lane, J. Kueng and Tou Thao are charged with aiding and abetting both second-degree murder and manslaughter.
Upon news of Chauvin's release, Gov. Tim Walz activated the National Guard to help local law enforcement. Walz said the Guard was mobilizing 100 soldiers and providing equipment and facilities “out of an abundance of caution" in light of public safety concerns. Walz said 100 state troopers and 75 Department of Natural Resources conservation officers were also mobilized to help local authorities.
As darkness fell Wednesday evening, hundreds of people took to the streets in south Minneapolis where protests were centered in the days after George Floyd’s death. They marched several blocks and blocked an intersection for a time, with chants including, “No Justice, No Peace — Prosecute the Police.”
Floyd family attorneys Ben Crump and Antonio Romanucci released a statement saying Chauvin's release “is a painful reminder" that the family is far from getting justice.
"The system of due process worked for Chauvin and afforded him his freedom while he awaits trial. In contrast, George Floyd was denied due process, when his life was ended over a $20 bill. There was no charge, no arrest, no hearing, no bail. Just execution," the attorneys wrote.
Floyd's aunt, Angela Harrelson, told FOX-9 that she was still trying to process the news.