Evangelist Franklin Graham has decried a decision to grant bail to the police officer charged in the death of George Floyd.
Officer Derek Chauvin was released from custody last week after posting a $1 million bond, which Graham insists is too low considering the horrific nature of his crime.
Chauvin was caught on camera kneeling on the neck of George Floyd, an African-American man, for several minutes before Floyd lost consciousness and later died. The killing sparked nationwide protests and a demand for justice.
"One million dollar bail just doesn’t seem high enough to me!" Graham wrote on Facebook. "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. It ignited a firestorm across this country with dozens of police killed, protestors killed, hundreds of millions of dollars in property damage, and set race relations back decades - sparked by the actions of this individual."
Graham went on to say that Chauvin's bail "should have been denied" and that the former officer had "done more damage to law enforcement than any other person in our nation."
"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," Graham added. "The incident was captured on video by multiple witnesses, and he obviously shouldn’t be walking free."
Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter. The three other officers present during the incident - J Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao - have been charged with aiding and abetting murder. Following Chauvin's release from custody, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz activated the National Guard in anticipation of reactionary protests.
The judge who granted Chauvin's bail said he would be permitted to cross state lines for his own personal safety. Judge Peter Cahill said Chauvin will be allowed to live in a neighbouring state while awaiting trial.