I gotta confess: I see America as this weird oddball country.
Which doesn’t exactly help when you tune into international or American news sites and see what’s happening right now.
(If you don’t know what I’m talking about, read about the George Floyd protests here.)
This is Derek Chauvin, the officer who put his knee on George Floyd, and is currently accused of murdering George Floyd:
He appeared virtually in a Minneapolis court on 8 May 2020 (USA time), charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Last week, a second-degree murder charge was added.
His trial is yet to be concluded.
Unconditional Bail Set At US$1.25 Million, Conditional At US$1 Million
You might be wondering what is a bail?
Basically, when someone is arrested for serious crimes, the suspect is usually detained in prison or a detention centre. But the trial hasn’t begun yet, so technically the suspect isn’t guilty of anything yet.
This is where bail comes in: the suspect can let the court hold an amount of money and go back to normal life until the trial happens. When the trial is concluded, they get back their money.
As you can see, if someone who is innocent happens to be arrested, bail allows them to continue with their life. Bail usually varies a lot and is much higher in the case where the charge is very serious.
In Chauvin’s case, it’s US$1.25 million with no conditions.
Or US$1 million on the condition that he becomes law-abiding, not work in security or law enforcement, surrender firearms or ammunition and any firearm permit, not leave Minnesota, no contact with George Floyd’s family, and waive extradition upon release.
Extradition is where someone accused is handed over to another jurisdiction.
There was no objection to the bail proposal from the defence.
Now, if you’d read anything about the protests, you might know there are actually four officers present there.
Unconditional US$1 Million, Conditional US$750,000 Bail Each For The Others
Derek Chauvin, the guy you see up there, is a 19-year veteran who initially trained as a cook and served in the Army as a military police officer. He had 17 complaints against him, two medals of valour, and a medal of commendation.
Tou Thao, a native Hmong speaker and 11-year veteran, began as a community service officer and had six complaints.
But the two others present in the scene were basically rookies.
Thomas Lane, a former juvenile detention guard who did volunteer work with Somali refugees, only became a full-fledged officer last year December.
J. Alexander Kueng, who got his start in law enforcement by patrolling his college campus and a department store, had only just completed his probation three months before the arrest.
When the arrest happened, both the rookies were just police officers for four days.
The question of whether Lane and Keung deserve as much as the veterans are currently hotly debated.
The next hearing in the case is scheduled for 29 June.