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Black correctional officers say they were barred from guarding Derek Chauvin

“I understood that the decision to segregate us had been made,” an acting sergeant wrote.

Derek Chauvin Getty

On Sunday (June 21), news broke that eight minority Ramsey County correctional officers filed charges against the Department of Human Rights. The complaint came after they were barred from having contact with ex-officer Derek Chauvin last month.

On May 29, Black officers were ordered to a separate floor after Chauvin entered the facility. A supervisor informed one of them that their race could serve as “a liability” around the former Minneapolis cop, who was captured on video pressing his knee against George Floyd’s neck.

“I understood that the decision to segregate us had been made because we could not be trusted to carry out our work responsibilities professionally around the high-profile inmate — solely because of the color of our skin,” an acting sergeant, who is Black, wrote. “I am not aware of a similar situation where white officers were segregated from an inmate.”

Minneapolis attorney Bonnie Smith explained that her clients deserve to work for an establishment that practices high morale. “I think they deserve to have employment decisions made based on performance and behavior,” she said. “Their main goal is to make sure this never happens again.”

After news of the complaint surfaced, jail superintendent Steve Lydon informed superiors that he made his decision in hopes of “protecting” and “supporting” minority employees. “Out of care and concern, and without the comfort of time, I made a decision to limit exposure to employees of color to a murder suspect who could potentially aggravate those feelings,” Lydon said in a statement.

On Saturday (June 20), REVOLT reported that ex-Minneapolis police officer Alexander Kueng, the second former cop charged in connection to George Floyd’s death, was released on bond. Per Hennepin County Jail online records, he posted bail of $750,000. As for Chauvin, he still remains behind bars with a $1.25 million bail.

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