Derek Chauvin, the Minneapolis police officer who suffocated George Floyd to death after kneeling on his neck for almost minutes is facing charges of second-degree murder and manslaughter. Three other officers who were with him at the scene are also being charged with aiding and abetting murder.
Mr Floyd’s death in May led to global protests and calls for police reform. DereknChauvin and the three other police officers have since been fired.
On Tuesday, a private funeral service will be held in Houston. Memorial services have already been held in Minneapolis and North Carolina, where Mr Floyd was born.
It is believed a family member escorted Mr Floyd’s body on a flight to Texas late on Saturday.Democratic US presidential candidate Joe Biden met privately with Mr Floyd’s relatives in Houston to offer his sympathies on Monday.
Derek Chauvin’s background
Mr Chauvin was the most senior officer involved in Mr Floyd’s arrest, serving for almost 19 years with the Minneapolis Police Department.
His record of policing included both commendations and conduct complaints.
There were at least 15 conduct complaints against him, the Star Tribune reported, citing records from the Minneapolis Police Department’s Internal Affairs. Most of the complaints were closed without discipline.
Mr Chauvin’s personal files were heavily redacted, but there are details of one complaint from 2007. The complaint concerns allegations Mr Chauvin pulled a woman from her car and frisked her after she was caught driving 10mph over the speed limit.
A report found Mr Chauvin did not record audio of the incident and failed to switch his dashcam on during the stop.
Mr Derek Chauvin, a 19-year police veteran, did not enter a plea as he appeared via teleconference on Monday.
He did not speak during the 15-minute hearing, and was handcuffed and wearing an orange jumpsuit as he sat a small table.
Judge Jeannice M Reding set a bail of $1.25m with no preconditions, or $1m with conditions that include Mr Chauvin not contacting Mr Floyd’s family, surrendering his firearms and not working in law enforcement or security as he awaits trial.
His lawyer did not object to the bail price.
Mr Derek Chauvin, 44, is currently being held at the Minnesota state prison in Oak Park Heights, after being transferred several times.
His next court appearance is set for 29 June.
He faces three separate charges: unintentional second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, for which the maximum penalties are prison terms of 40, 25 and 10 years respectively.
Further charges could be brought but it appears unlikely he will be accused of first-degree murder as prosecutors would have to prove premeditation, intent and motive, the Associated Press reports.
By bringing multiple charges, prosecutors give jurors a choice and increase the chances of a conviction.
Minneapolis city council has voted to ban chokeholds and neck restraints by police officers, and Democrats in Congress have unveiled sweeping legislation on police reform.
In France, which saw Black Lives Matter protests over the weekend, Interior Minister Christophe Castaner announced that police would no longer be allowed to use chokeholds to arrest people.
France’s police watchdog has revealed that there were 1,500 complaints against officers last year, half of them for alleged assaults.
Anti-racism protests started by Mr Floyd’s death are now entering their third week in the US. Huge rallies have been held in several cities, including Washington DC, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Other officers charged alongside Derek Chauvin for George Floyd’s murder include Tou Thao, Thomas Lane and J Alexander Kueng.
With the rallying cries “Black Lives matter” and “No Justice, No Peace”, the demonstrations are among the largest US protests against racism since the 1960s. Saturday’s gatherings included a protest in the Texas town of Vidor, once infamous as a stronghold of the Ku Klux Klan white supremacist group.
The majority of protests have been peaceful, however episodes of looting and violence have been reported.