Chauvin, 44, was the last of the four former Minneapolis police officers charged in Floyd’s killing to be released from jail as the court case is pending. A 19-year veteran of the Minneapolis Police Department before he was fired in May, Chauvin is facing second-degree murder and manslaughter charges in Floyd’s death. Three other officers on the scene — J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas K. Lane and Tou Thao — are charged with aiding and abetting.
A Hennepin County judge is weighing whether all four former officers will be tried jointly. A tentative trial date has been set for March 2021.
Chauvin’s release is likely to spur tensions in a city that has remained on edge since Floyd’s death and where many buildings throughout downtown Minneapolis remain boarded up amid ongoing concern about civil unrest.
A Minneapolis official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to speak publicly, said the city was made aware early Wednesday of Chauvin’s possible release and “planned accordingly” but declined to provide specifics.
Gov. Tim Walz announced late Wednesday afternoon that he had activated the National Guard and deployed other state law enforcement officers at the request of the city of Minneapolis “in light of public safety concerns” over Chauvin’s release.
It is unclear where Chauvin might go. Under bail conditions, he is not allowed to leave Minnesota. His former home in the Twin Cities suburbs was recently sold.
Members of his family have repeatedly declined to comment on his arrest, though unidentified relatives last month launched an online fundraiser through the site Give Send Go seeking to raise funds for Chauvin’s bail fund. A message posted there last week said the fundraising “has been slower than what we had expected.” As of Wednesday, the fund had raised just less than $4,000.
Chauvin, along with his estranged wife, Kellie, also is facing felony state tax evasion charges. Prosecutors in Washington County, Minn., say Chauvin underreported and underpaid state taxes dating to 2014 and did not report more than $95,000 he earned working as an off-duty security guard.