(NEW YORK POST) – Eight minority corrections officers in Minnesota have filed discrimination charges with the state’s Department of Human Rights after they were barred from guarding Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis cop charged in George Floyd’s death, according to a report.
Chauvin was booked at the Ramsey County Jail the day he was charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter. He was later hit with an upgraded charge of second-degree murder.
The former officer was captured on disturbing, viral video pinning his knee on Floyd’s neck as the man pleaded for air.
As Chauvin was brought to the lockup, all officers of color were ordered to another floor, according to the Star Tribune, which obtained a copy of the racial discrimination charges.
A supervisor told one of the minority officers that, because of their race, they would be a possible “liability” around Chauvin, the news outlet reported, citing their allegations.
“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,” wrote one acting sergeant, who is black, the Star Tribune reported.
“I am not aware of a similar situation where white officers were segregated from an inmate,” the officer added.
Attorney Bonnie Smith, who is representing the corrections officers, said the order affected their morale.
“I think they deserve to have employment decisions made based on performance and behavior,” she told the paper. “Their main goal is to make sure this never happens again.”
Jail Superintendent Steve Lydon told his bosses that he made a call “to protect and support” minority personnel by shielding them from Chauvin 10 minutes before he arrived.
“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 reportedly said during an internal probe, reported the Star Tribune, which received his statement from the Sheriff’s Office,
Lydon has since been demoted, according to the news outlet.
The officers’ charges, which were filed Friday, are expected to automatically trigger a state probe.
The Department of Human Rights has already launched a major inquiry into the Minneapolis Police Department after Floyd’s death to examine its policies and procedures over the past 10 years, the Star Tribune reported.
Human Rights Commissioner Rebecca Lucero declined to comment to the newspaper about the pending case in Ramsey County.
Three other former Minneapolis officers — Tou Thau, Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng – have been charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder.