MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Thursday’s initial court appearance for three of the four ex-Minneapolis police officers involved with George Floyd’s appeared to be a standard hearing – until Thomas Lane’s attorney gave an impassioned argument defending his client.
In the widely circulated video documenting Floyd’s death, Lane can be seen holding Floyd’s feet to the ground as former officer Derek Chauvin pressed a knee into his neck for nearly nine minutes.
Lane appeared in court last, after Tou Thao and J. Alexander Kueng. All three are charged with aiding and abetting second-degree unintentional murder, as well as aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.
Earl Gray, Lane’s attorney, argued the case against his client was “weak,” pointing out that Lane had asked Chauvin if Floyd should be rolled on his side.
He then said Lane had tried CPR on Floyd in the ambulance. He was “pounding on this guy trying to revive him. Where is the willful intent?,” Gray said, when he was asked after the trial about his clients case.
“If three cops are trying to restrain somebody and one doesn’t agree, well that one cop should go beat up the other two cops and let the guy go? That’s absurd,” Gray said.
Since Gray made this point, the Minneapolis City Council unanimously voted to pass a temporary restraining order, forcing reform within the police department. Now, Minneapolis police officers must intervene if they witness a fellow officer using excessive force.
During his trial, Gray repeatedly said that Floyd died on Lane’s fourth day on duty. However, Lane was not a complete rookie with the department; he was hired as a police cadet in February of 2019 and was promoted to a police officer in December 2019.
Gray said he will file for a probable cause hearing to challenge the evidence against his client.
The judge set Lane’s bail at $1 million. He will make his next court appearance on June 29. Attorneys for the other former officers chose not to comment.