News World US Judge sets bail for ex-cop amid Democrat show of support over George Floyd death

Judge sets bail for ex-cop amid Democrat show of support over George Floyd death

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The ex-Minneapolis police officer charged with murdering George Floyd has had his bail increased to US$1.25 million ($A1.78 million) after fronting a District Court.

Appearing via video teleconference and wearing an orange jumpsuit, Derek Chauvin admitted he still had guns at his home. That forced judge Jeannice Reding to issue strict bail conditions.

Ms Reding said Mr Chauvin could be released on bail of $1 million if he agreed to remove his firearms, not carry out any police or law enforcement work, and steer clear of Mr Floyd’s family.

Mr Chauvin, who last week had his charges upgraded to include second-degree murder, will appear in front of a judge again on June 29, along with the three other accused officers.

His first court appearance came as hundreds of mourners lined up outside a church in Mr Floyd’s hometown to say goodbye to his body.

As the doors opened at The Fountain of Praise church in Houston, the city where Mr Floyd spent most of his life, the body was lying in an open gold casket.

His body, dressed in a brown suit, was escorted to what organisers said would be a six-hour public viewing that was expected to draw thousands of people on Tuesday (Australian time).

Mourners, many wearing masks and T-shirts with the words “I can’t breathe”, stood two metres apart as they paused briefly to view the casket.

“With this happening to him, it’s going to make a difference in the world,” said Pam Robinson, who grew up with Mr Floyd in Houston.

Houston rapper Cal Wayne views the casket of his friend, George Floyd. Photo: AAP

The mourners came from near and far: Comill Adams said she drove more than seven hours from Oklahoma City with her family, including two children aged eight and 10.

“We had been watching the protests on TV. We’ve been at home feeling outraged. At times it brought us to tears,” Ms Adams said.

“The fact this one is causing change, we had to come be a part of.”

Police reform bill

Democrats have proposed a sweeping overhaul of police oversight and procedures by introducing the Justice in Policing Act.

But before that, they each knelt and observed eight minutes and 46 seconds of silence – the length of time police pinned George Floyd down by his neck and body as he begged for air. 

Democrats at Capitol Hill in a show of support for George Floyd and other victims of police brutality. Photo: Getty

The Act would limit legal protections for police, create a national database of excessive-force incidents and ban police choke holds, among other changes, a draft outline obtained by The Associated Press revealed.

The draft document said the proposed legislation would revise the federal criminal police misconduct statute to make it easier to prosecute officers who are involved in misconduct “knowingly or with reckless disregard”.

The package would also change “qualified immunity” protections for police “to enable individuals to recover damages when law enforcement officers violate their constitutional rights,” it says.

The legislation would seek to provide greater oversight and transparency of police behaviour in several ways, including granting subpoena power to the Justice Department to conduct “pattern and practice” investigations of potential misconduct and help states conduct independent investigations.

It would also create a National Police Misconduct Registry, a database to try to prevent officers from transferring from one department to another with past misconduct undetected.

Karen Bass, chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, which is leading the effort, called it “transformative”.

“We’re in a real moment in our country,” she told CNN following days of massive protests.

-with AAP