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Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. Photo: Hennepin County Sheriff's Office

Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged with murder in the death of George Floyd, was released from jail on Wednesday after posting a $1 million bond, court documents show.

Why it matters: The May killing of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, set off months of protests and unrest across the U.S. Video of the incident shows Chauvin pinning Floyd's neck to the ground with his knee for eight minutes and 46 seconds as the handcuffed Black man cried out, "I can't breathe," before going unresponsive.

The big picture: Chauvin and three other officers involved were fired from the Minneapolis Police Department.

  • Chauvin faces second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter charges.
  • The other officers — Thomas Lane, J. Kueng and Tou Thao — are charged with aiding and abetting both second-degree murder and manslaughter, per AP. They were each previously released on $750,000 bonds.
  • It was unclear where Chauvin got the money to post the $1 million bond, per AP, which reported that a spokesperson for the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association confirmed the group did not provide funds.
  • Per the conditions of his release, Chauvin must attend all court appearances, cannot have any contact — direct or indirect — with members of Floyd's family, cannot work in law enforcement or security, and cannot have any firearms ammunition.

What they're saying: The lawyers for Floyd's family, prominent civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump and Antonio Romanucci, said in a statement later on Wednesday that Chauvin's release "is a painful reminder to George Floyd's family that we are still far from achieving justice for George."

  • "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," the lawyers added.
  • "There was no charge, no arrest, no hearing, no bail. Just execution. Although George Floyd was denied justice in life, we will not rest until he is afforded full justice in death. The civil litigation team looks forward to our day in court.”

What's next: The trial for all four former officers is tentatively set for March, but the judge is weighing a motion to try the cases separately, per AP.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with the statement from Floyd's family lawyers.

Go deeper

53 mins ago - World

Biden seeks to reboot U.S. sanctions policy

Sanctions increased under Obama and dramatically under Trump. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

The Biden administration is rethinking the U.S. approach to sanctions after four years of Donald Trump imposing and escalating them.

The big picture: Sanctions are among the most powerful tools the U.S. has to influence its adversaries’ behavior without using force. But they frequently fail to bring down regimes or moderate their behavior, and they can increase the suffering of civilians and resentment of the U.S.

1 hour ago - World

Merkel's farewell spoiled by Poland crisis at EU summit

One last awkward EU "family photo." Photo: John Thys/AFP via Getty Images

Angela Merkel took up her vaunted mantle as Europe's crisis manager for what could be the last time tonight, as she urged the EU to find compromise in its showdown with Poland.

Why it matters: The European Commission has threatened to withhold over $40 billion in pandemic recovery funds after Poland's constitutional tribunal — stacked with loyalists from the ruling right-wing populist party — rejected the principle that EU law has primacy over national law.

Republicans who put it all on the line

Rep. Nancy Mace speaks with reporters after voting to hold Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

A small contingent of House Republicans risked their political futures on Thursday, they say, in the name of constitutional responsibility.

Why it matters: The nine Republicans who voted to hold former Trump aide Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress are now in peril of becoming political pariahs. They've opened themselves up to potential primary challengers and public attacks from their party's kingmaker — former President Trump.

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