Minnesota sheriff's office reprimanded for banning non-white corrections officers from guarding Derek Chauvin
Handout via AFP.

On Tuesday, The Daily Beast reported that officials in Ramsey County, Minnesota are blasting their local sheriff's office over a policy in which corrections officers were racially segregated, with non-white officers prohibited from guarding now-convicted murderer Derek Chauvin while he was awaiting trial in 2020.

"On Tuesday, the Ramsey County Board of Commissioners signed off on a nearly $1.5 million settlement after the officers sued for racial discrimination while working at the Ramsey County Adult Detention Center, a facility run by the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office, in May 2020," reported Brooke Leigh Howard. "The board also officially apologized to the officers Devin Sullivan, Mohamud Salad, Timothy Ivory, Anabel Herrera, Stanley Hafoka, Nathaniel Gomez-Haustein, Cedric Dodds, and Chelsea Cox."

According to the lawsuit, the policy, which Superintendent Steve Lydon claimed was to minimize the trauma of officers of color, "prohibited all non-white correctional officers 'from interacting with or guarding Chauvin, or going anywhere on the fifth floor, where Chauvin was to be held. As a result…all officers of color who were assigned in those areas were segregated from Chauvin and reassigned to other locations within the jail.'" At one point, non-white officers had to stand by during an "emergency situation" and wait for white officers to arrive, because it was in the area they were prohibited from going.

"[The sheriff's office's actions] were more than just wrong — they were racist, heinous, highly disrespectful and completely out of line with Ramsey County’s vision and values," said the Board of Commissioners in a statement to the Beast. "No one ever should have questioned your ability to perform your job based on the color of your skin."

Chauvin, a white former Minneapolis police officer, became a national name after he was seen on video kneeling on the neck of Black suspect George Floyd, who died after nine minutes of gasping for air and begging for his life — an event that triggered civil rights protests around the country.

Chauvin was ultimately sentenced to 22 years in prison for murder after a highly publicized trial. He subsequently pleaded guilty to federal civil rights charges at the end of last year.

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