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Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin transferred to Oak Park Heights state prison

Corrections Commissioner Paul Schnell said the decision was made partly due to concerns over COVID-19, and partly due to matters of jail safety.
Credit: Hennepin County Jail
Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin

OAK PARK HEIGHTS, Minn. — Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin is being held at the Minnesota Correctional Facility at Oak Park Heights, public safety officials confirmed late Sunday.

Department of Corrections (DOC) Commissioner Paul Schnell told reporters during a news briefing that Chauvin was transferred to the maximum security facility, a move he described as "not uncommon." Schnell said the decision was made partly due to concerns over COVID-19, and partly due to matters of jail safety. The move was made earlier Sunday in anticipation that large scale arrests of demonstrators could take place later that night. 

"A large number of people could be booked into Hennepin County Jail tonight, and as a result of that Sheriff Hutchinson handed me the request and the DOC accommodated that request and the transfer has been made," Schnell explained. "He is safe and secure in the prison at Oak Park Heights."

Chauvin was originally jailed in Ramsey County after his arrest on charges of third degree murder and second degree manslaughter in the videotaped death of George Floyd. He was transferred to the Hennepin County Jail on Sunday, and then moved to Oak Park Heights.

On Monday a DOC spokesperson said Chauvin is being held in administrative segregation outside the general population of the Oak Park Heights facility. The spokesperson noted that the DOC also took custody of former Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor following his arrest for the fatal shooting of Justine Damond Ruszczyk, after a similar request from Hennepin County.  

The Minnesota Correctional Facility at Oak Park Heights is described on the state website this way.

MCF-Oak Park Heights opened in 1982. Up to 473 inmates can be incarcerated here. Oak Park Heights is the highest custody level in the Minnesota DOC system. However, the majority of inmates housed here are maximum and close custody, as some of the inmates need a higher level of security. 

RELATED: Derek Chauvin charged with 3rd degree murder, manslaughter in death of George Floyd

The former officer was quickly fired after a video surfaced with an officer identified as Chauvin placing his knee directly on Floyd's neck for more than five minutes. Mayor Jacob Frey and Police Chief Medaria Arrandondo quickly decided to dismiss Chauvin and the three other officers involved in the encounter with Mr. Floyd after the video surfaced on social media.

Protesters are still calling for a first degree murder charge for Chauvin, and for charges against the other officers.

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