Eight Minnesota corrections officers, all people of color who said they were barred from interacting with Derek Chauvin while he was awaiting trial in the death of George Floyd, were awarded a nearly $1.5 million settlement Tuesday.
Chauvin was arrested for Floyd’s murder on May 29, 2020 and brought to the Ramsey County Adult Detention Center. The officers – who identify as African American, Hispanic, Pacific Islander American and multiracial – alleged former jail superintendent Steve Lydon prohibited all officers of color from guarding Chauvin or entering the floor where he was being held just before he arrived. The order was rescinded about an hour later, according to a resolution to a lawsuit the officers filed.
Lydon reportedly told his superiors that he made the decision “to protect and support” minority employees by keeping them away from the former Minneapolis police officer, the Star Tribune reported.
“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 given during an internal investigation that the sheriff’s office provided the Star Tribune shortly after the incident.
Lydon was later demoted but still works for the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office, which runs the jail.
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SOURCE: USA Today, N’dea Yancey-Bragg