MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Three former Minneapolis police officers involved in the death of George Floyd made their first court appearance Thursday afternoon.

Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng, and Tou Thao appeared in a Hennepin County courtroom, where they were granted $1 million in bail, or $750,000 with conditions.

They face aiding and abetting second-degree unintentional murder charges, as well as aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.

During their appearance, they were also ordered not to work again in security or law enforcement, to surrender their gun, and never have any contact with the victim’s family.

All three turned themselves in once their warrants were issued.

Courtroom sketch of Thao’s first court appearance, June 4. (Credit: CBS)

Thao appeared in the courtroom first, wearing an orange prison uniform and a mask. Though his lawyer originally argued for a $200,000 bail, the Judge Paul Scoggin said he was “hard pressed to come up with any comparison” to other cases to determine bail and denied the request.

Kueng appeared next, where his lawyer Thomas Plunkett argued that George Floyd’s death occurred during Kueng’s third shift as a police officer. He also asked for leniency and a bail of $200,000 without conditions, but was rejected.

A wide shot of J. Alexander Kueng’s first court appearance and Judge Paul Scoggin. (Credit: Cedric Hohnstadt)

Lane walked into the courtroom last. Throughout his appearance, his attorney Earl Gray argued that the case against the ex-officer was weak.

According to Gray, Lane had asked Derek Chauvin – the officer who kept his knee on George Floyd’s neck – if Floyd should be rolled over. He also said Lane had tried CPR on Floyd in the ambulance. “Where is the willful intent?” Gray asked.

Gray also repeatedly said that Lane had only been a police officer for four days, even though previous statements released by the Minneapolis Police Department said Lane was hired in February 2019. 

The defense also said that Floyd “flew out of the squad car” and “resisted.” However, in a report released by the New York Times, a witness who was in the car with Floyd at the time claims that he was “trying in his humblest form to show he was not resisting.”

Lane’s attorney said he plans to file a probable cause hearing to challenge the evidence.

Thomas Lane appears in court, June 4. (Credit: Cedric Hohnstadt)

The next court appearance for all three officers is scheduled for June 29.

As seen in the widely-circulated video of Floyd’s death, Lane and Kueng helped pin Floyd to the ground, while Tou Thao stood watch nearby. Chauvin, who was charged and arrested Friday, can be seen pinning Floyd’s neck to the ground for over eight minutes.

The three were charged Wednesday afternoon, over a week after Floyd’s death.

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison also announced Wednesday afternoon that Chauvin’s murder charges have been upgraded to include second-degree unintentional murder. He still faces the original third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter charges.

Chauvin is scheduled for his first court appearance on Monday.

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Kate Raddatz

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