MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A former Minneapolis police officer charged in the death of George Floyd is asking the judge to dismiss the case against him before it goes to trial.
Thomas Lane is charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder. To gain insight into what Wednesday’s motion means for the case, WCCO spoke with Susan Gaertner, who has been both a county attorney and criminal defense attorney.
Newly-released court documents give a more comprehensive picture of what unfolded the day Floyd died, according to Gaertner, who’s not connected to the case. Included in Lane’s motion to dismiss, the public now gets a look at transcripts of body worn cameras and a Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension interview with the former officer.
“It is a legal maneuver, a legal protection if you will, that’s important to take advantage of if you feel you have facts in your favor,” Gaertner said.
She says motions like this are rarely granted, and in this case, there’s tremendous community concern.
The body worn camera transcript shows Lane and another officer tried to get Floyd in the back of the squad. Floyd said he was claustrophobic and wanted someone to stay with him. The transcript says Lane offers to roll a window down and turn on the air. And, he called an ambulance after seeing Floyd trashing back and forth and had begun bleeding from the mouth.
In the transcript, Floyd first said “I can’t breathe” during the struggle in the squad car. And it was Floyd that wanted to lay on the ground.
“There are some other things that are set out in the documents that will also feed into their defense that he was about trying to manage the situation as opposed to being someone who was trying to commit a crime or was participating in a crime,” Gaertner said.
She believes the judge will have a “tough decision”. Either way, more information is now out there for the defense.
“I would have to believe that it would feed into their efforts to try to find jurors who have heard more of both sides of the story rather than just one,” Gaertner said.
Attorney General Keith Ellison’s office says he will oppose the motion to dismiss. The state has until August 10 to file that response.
Gaertner says to expect similar motions to dismiss from former officers J. Alexander Keung and Tou Thao, as well as a motion to move the trial out of Hennepin County. All four, including Derek Chauvin, are scheduled to be back in court in September.