The order says Chauvin should “establish residency somewhere in the state of Minnesota or a contiguous state” — Iowa, South Dakota or Wisconsin — and provide the address to the court, prosecutors and law enforcement officials who will share the information on a “need to know basis” only. The court record will reflect that the “defendant has no permanent address,” Cahill ruled.
Chauvin, 44, was transferred from a state prison where he had been held since his arrest in late May to the Hennepin County Jail on Wednesday, when he posted a conditional $1 million bond. The terms of the bond restricted him from leaving the state, a fairly typical condition in a murder case. Chauvin was the last of the four former Minneapolis police officers charged in Floyd’s death to be released from jail on bond.
A 19-year veteran of the Minneapolis police force 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.
Cahill is weighing whether all four former officers will be tried jointly. A tentative trial date has been set for March.
Attorneys for all four officers have asked to move the trial out of Hennepin County, questioning whether it is possible to seat an impartial jury in Minneapolis and citing security concerns in a city that was rocked by days of civil unrest after Floyd’s death. Minneapolis remains on edge.
At a pretrial hearing last month, attorneys for all four former officers cited numerous threats they and their clients had received in recent months. Afterward, protesters confronted three of the former officers — Kueng, Lane and Thao — and their attorneys outside the courthouse, some chanting “Murderer!” at the officers while pursuing them for several blocks as they walked to their cars.
Thomas Plunkett, an attorney for Kueng, said in court filings that the crowd outside the courthouse was proof of why the trial should be moved. He wrote that protester physically assaulted Lane and his attorney, Earl Gray, and he offered screen shots of the encounter taken from a live stream hosted by the independent media group Unicorn Riot.
Plunkett said protesters had inflicted $2,000 worth of damage on the vehicle that he, Kueng, Lane and Gray had ridden in and included a copy of the Minneapolis police report he filed about the incident.
“No recognizable plan was in place in advance of the hearing to assure the safe and orderly entry of co-defendants or co-counsel into the courthouse,” Plunkett wrote, noting that “the interests of justice would be best served” by granting a change of venue.
It is unclear what the latest security threat to Chauvin might be. His attorney, Eric Nelson, did not respond to a request for comment Friday.
Chauvin’s release on bond has angered many activists across the city, as they argue that the former officer’s release shines an unflattering light on a bail system that has been criticized for inequality and lack of transparency — including who provides the collateral or financial backing to help a defendant post bond.
Court records show Chauvin’s $1 million conditional bond was secured through A-Affordable Bail Bond, based in Brainard, Minn., two hours north of Minneapolis. The records do not show how the bond was secured or how much was paid in advance — disclosures that are not required under state law — and Chauvin’s attorney has declined to say. As of Friday, a “bail fund” set up on a private fundraising website by unidentified members of Chauvin’s family had raised just less than $5,500.
Chauvin’s release sparked new protests across the Twin Cities Wednesday and Thursday — prompting Gov. Tim Walz to activate the National Guard and deploy State Patrol officers to Minneapolis. Though most gatherings were peaceful, Minneapolis police arrested more than 50 people at a protest outside the city’s 5th Precinct station Wednesday night.
Under his bail conditions, Chauvin cannot possess a firearm and must attend all court hearings. The judge ordered him to obtain a mobile phone so that he can be reached at all times. Chauvin also was ordered to surrender his passport.