Reports: Minnesota corrections officers file complaint alleging minorities weren't allowed to be in contact with Derek Chauvin
Eight law enforcement officers in Minnesota, who work at the facility where fired policeman Derek Chauvin was detained after he was arrested for murdering George Floyd, have reportedly been banned from contacting him and have reportedly filed a complaint with the State Department filed for human rights.
The officers - all colored people - said they had been told they would be "responsible" for Chauvin because of their race, The Star Tribune of Minneapolis reported. Chauvin is the white officer seen on a video of his knee pressed into Floyd's neck for almost nine minutes when the black man gasped.
According to a copy of the newspaper's racial discrimination charge, color officials were taken to a separate floor when they arrived at Ramsey County Prison. The only officers guarding Chauvin were whites, and minority workers were prohibited from contacting Chauvin, the Star Tribune reported.
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The officers of the color called the order a "segregation order" according to the Star Tribune.
The Star Tribune also reported on May 30 that a white lieutenant was granted special access to Chauvin's cell, where he was allowed to use her cell phone.
The Ramsey County's sheriff's office gave the Star Tribune a statement from the prison's superintendent, Steve Lydon. However, the statement did not address the claim that the lieutenant had access to Chauvin.
"Out of concern and worry, and with no comfort in time, I decided to limit exposure to colored employees to a suspect who could potentially exacerbate these feelings," said Lydon in the statement released during an internal investigation.
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Lydon was later demoted to the Star Tribune, and Chauvin has since been transferred to the state's maximum security prison in Oak Park Heights.
Minneapolis attorney Bonnie Smith, who represents the eight officers, told the newspaper that the decision to separate officials from Chauvin - the only ones who guarded him were white - affected morale.
"I think they deserve to have employment decisions based on performance and behavior," she told the Star Tribune. "Your main goal is to ensure that this never happens again."
To NBC News, Smith said: "If he really [Lydon] tries to protect my clients from racial trauma, he shouldn't separate them by skin color," said Smith. "He doesn't prevent racial trauma - he does it."
The Ramsey County Sheriff's Office and Smith's Office did not immediately respond to requests from USA TODAY for comments on Sunday. A Ramsey County official referred questions to the sheriff's department.
The Department of Human Rights at the Minnesota Department declined to comment, citing state law that, according to a spokesman, the agency would not "be able to file a charge of discrimination or other information related to a case until the case is closed."
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After Floyd's death on Memorial Day, protests and outrage spread across the country. Officials, including Chauvin, had responded to a call that day about a man who had allegedly tried to use a fake $ 20 bill.
Chauvin was charged with second degree murder and manslaughter and Floyd's death was sentenced to murder. The other three officers who were present when Floyd died were also indicted for aid.
This article originally appeared in the US TODAY: Derek Chauvin was complained that only white officers could guard it
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