Evangelist Franklin Graham is saying that the $1 million bail amount reached for the policeman whose actions led to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May was not high enough.
"The entire world watched as then-officer Derek Chauvin put his knee on the neck of George Floyd, who he knew and had worked with at the same club, and he kept it there until Mr. Floyd took his last breath. George Floyd’s death should have never happened," Graham said on his Facebook page Friday.
Floyd's death, which was caught on tape and the footage of him saying "I can't breathe" as he pleaded for his life before he died, sparked demonstrations around the country, some of which turned violent and resulted in dozens of officers being killed.
"Officer Chauvin has done more damage to law enforcement than any other person in our nation. For the life of me, I don’t understand why the progressive leadership of this city and state would allow him to walk. To me, bail should have been denied," Graham continued.
"Of course I agree that Derek Chauvin needs a fair and just trial, but it needs to be a speedy trial with swift justice — for the good of everyone. The incident was captured on video by multiple witnesses, and he obviously shouldn’t be walking free. I don’t know who gave the money for that million dollar bail, but that would be interesting to know, wouldn’t it? We have seen that there are some who would like nothing better than to fuel the fires of unrest in our nation again at this critical time."
Following Floyd's death, a trend emerged in several cities as calls arose for the defunding of police departments around the nation, an idea the evangelist believes is ill-considered.
"Instead of defunding police departments, we should be designating more funding for better screening, better training, and additional staffing. There are some people who should never be allowed to wear a police uniform, and better screening and funding could help that process," he said.
Chauvin, who has been charged with second-degree and third-degree murder and manslaughter charges, was allowed by a judge to leave the state of Minnesota while awaiting trial amid concerns about his safety. He is required to maintain contact with a conditional release officer and carry with him a mobile phone so he can be reached at all times.
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Although not listed as the cause of death, the autopsy report from the Hennepin County Medical Examiner's office that was released in June revealed that Floyd had tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and that he had both fentanyl, methamphetamine, and cannabinoids in his system. That report said that Floyd's death was the result of "cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression." The examiner the Floyd family hired listed in its report that Floyd had died by "asphyxiation from sustained pressure."
In August, officer-worn body camera footage was released that showed a fuller picture of the happenings that led up to Floyd's death than what was originally presented months earlier.
According to a notice of appearance, Chauvin's next court date is set to occur on March 8.