Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged in the death of George Floyd, has reportedly been placed on suicide watch. Chauvin is being held in custody at Ramsey County Jail in St. Paul and has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter. Floyd died while in police custody on Monday, with a video showing Chauvin with his knee on Floyd's neck for several minutes, even after he lost consciousness.
A source at the St. Paul jail told TMZ Chauvin now has a camera on in his cell every moment of the day. The prison staff is also doing an in-person check every 15 minutes. The source did not specifically say Chauvin was on "suicide watch," but other law enforcement sources told TMZ that is "effectively" what is happening. When Chauvin was checked into the prison, he underwent a full, unclothed body search and was put into a cell in the "special wing" for high-profile cases.
TMZ's sources said the "suicide watch" does not mean Chauvin is thought to be suicidal and the checks every 15 minutes are part of the standard procedures for his jail wing. The sources said police want to make sure nothing happens to him when he is in custody. The jail source said Chauvin will only be allowed outside his cell for an hour each day for a recreational time in an enclosed area. He has access to books, pencil and paper, and has a bed bolted to the cell's floor.
Floyd was arrested by Officers Thomas Lane and J.A. Kueng on Monday after a grocery store employee accused Floyd of using a counterfeit $20 bill. Chauvin and Officer Tou Thao later arrived at the scene and tried to get Floyd into a police car, according to the criminal complaint. At one point, Floyd fell face-down on the ground, and Chauvin pinned Floyd with his knee on Floyd's neck. According to the complaint against Chauvin, the former officer kept his knee on Floyd's neck for almost nine minutes, including almost three minutes after Floyd became unconscious. Floyd can be heard complaining he could not breathe on the video. Chauvin and the three other officers were fired.
Floyd's death has sparked massive protests across Minneapolis and the rest of the country. It was not until Friday that Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman charged Chauvin with Floyd's death. Floyd's family said the charges were a "welcome but overdue step on the road to justice," reports CNBC. The family said they expected and want a first-degree murder charge and hope the other officers involved are charged. Freeman said he anticipated charges against the officers, but did not say what they would be.
If you or someone you know are in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741-741.