For months, protesters trained their anger on Derek Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer who was shown on video holding his knee on the neck of George Floyd before his death. They demonstrated outside of Mr. Chauvin’s home, posted his mug shot across the internet and chanted outside his first in-person court appearance last month.
Through almost all of it, Mr. Chauvin has been behind bars, awaiting trial for murder and manslaughter in Mr. Floyd’s death. But on Wednesday, Mr. Chauvin was freed after posting $100,000 through a bail bond agency. Hours later, Gov. Tim Walz of Minnesota announced that he was mobilizing 100 members of the Minnesota National Guard “out of an abundance of caution” at the request of leaders in Minneapolis, which was upended by nights of protest immediately after the killing of Mr. Floyd in May.
It was uncertain where Mr. Chauvin, 44, will live or how he will be received, but he is returning to an outside world that has been significantly reshaped by the killing. Mr. Floyd’s death ignited protests across the globe and led to an increased focus on race and police brutality.
As part of the conditions of his release, Mr. Chauvin will be required to stay in Minnesota until his trial, scheduled for March, but the Minnesota home he owned with his wife, who has filed for divorce, was sold for $279,000 in late August, property records show. He also agreed to surrender any guns he may have, not take any job in law enforcement and avoid any contact with Mr. Floyd’s family.
A bail bond agency posted 10 percent of the total bail, which was set at $1 million, on behalf of Mr. Chauvin.
Mr. Chauvin, who is white, was fired from the Minneapolis Police Department and charged with second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter after video captured him kneeling on the neck of Mr. Floyd for more than nine minutes. Mr. Floyd, a Black man who had worked as a security guard, was pronounced dead at a hospital that night.
Mr. Chauvin’s lawyer, Eric J. Nelson, has indicated in court filings that he plans to shift blame away from Mr. Chauvin and toward two rookie officers who also responded to the scene, when a deli clerk called to report that Mr. Floyd had used a counterfeit bill to buy cigarettes. Three officers who were at the scene along with Mr. Chauvin were also fired and were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder.
Mr. Chauvin has also asked a judge to move the trial away from Minneapolis and to hold separate trials for each of the officers.
Mr. Floyd’s death led to protests around the world and marches in the United States that lasted for weeks. It also brought attention to other police killings of Black people, including that of Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Ky.