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Derek Chauvin Can Await Murder Trial Out Of State Amid 'Safety Concerns'

A Hennepin County judge has allowed Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged with murder in the killing of George Floyd, to leave the state due to "safety concerns."

Judge Peter Cahill issued a new orderon Thursday changing the terms of Chauvin's bond. The 44-year-old was released from Oak Park Heights Prison on Wednesday after posting a $1 million bond.

He was supposed to remain in Minnesota but Cahill's latest decision said the Department of Corrections provided evidence "supporting safety concerns that have arisen in [Chauvin's] pretrial conditional release."

The ruling allows Chauvin to move to a neighboring state while he awaits trial as long as he maintains mandatory contact with a conditional release officer and carries a mobile phone on his person at all times so he can be reached by officials.

Cahill's order also states that Chauvin's new address will be kept confidential and only shared with agencies on a need-to-know basis. Additionally, previous bond conditions are still in place, including not working in a security capacity, no firearms or firearms permits and no contact with Floyd's family.

Chauvin is the officer who compressed Floyd's neck with his knee for nearly nine minutes as the Black man — already restrained in handcuffs — gasped for air and pleaded for his life. The agony of Floyd's final moments on Memorial Day were captured on video and sparked a national wave of protests against police brutality and racial injustice that are still ongoing.

Chauvin was arrested days after the killing and now faces charges of second-degree and third-degree murder and manslaughter.

Three other former Minneapolis police officers — Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao — who were on the scene that day have been charged with aiding and abetting Chauvin.

Floyd's family was outraged by the court's decision.

"The fact that Derek Chauvin is being given special treatment out of concern for his safety demonstrates how stark the contrast is between the two justice systems in America," Ben Crump, the attorney for Floyd's family said in a statementFriday.

"Can you imagine a Black man awaiting trial for murder being allowed to leave the state out of concern for his safety?"

He added: "The police were not concerned about George Floyd's safety even as he was handcuffed, face down on the ground with his breath and life being slowly extinguished. Yet, the man charged with killing him will roam free across state lines."

Chauvin's release from prison prompted a new wave of protests in the Twin Cities Wednesday and Thursday night, leading to the arrest of more than 50 demonstrators.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Vanessa Romo is a reporter for NPR's News Desk. She covers breaking news on a wide range of topics, weighing in daily on everything from immigration and the treatment of migrant children, to a war-crimes trial where a witness claimed he was the actual killer, to an alleged sex cult. She has also covered the occasional cat-clinging-to-the-hood-of-a-car story.