One of the rookie police officers charged in George Floyd‘s death tried to get white police officer Derek Chauvin to release his knee, his lawyer said Monday.
Thomas Lane, 37, was on just his fourth full-time shift as a cop when his white colleague pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck for several minutes.
Lane’s attorney, Earl Gray, told the Today show: ‘He was doing what he thought was right. He did not stand by and watch.’
Gray said his client asked Chauvin ‘ shall we roll him over because he says he can’t breathe’ but ‘he said no’ and Gray says Lane obeyed his superiors’s orders.
Floyd’s death set off protests, some violent, in Minneapolis that swiftly spread to cities around the U.S. and the globe. Chauvin, 44, and three other officers on the scene, including Lane, were fired the day after Floyd’s death.
Lane, along with officers J. Kueng, and Tou Thao, was later charged with aiding and abetting the murder of Floyd. Chauvin faces second-degree murder charges.
Thomas Lane, 37, is charged with aiding and abetting George Floyd’s murder.He is seen here in CCTV footage during the arrest of George Floyd on Memorial Day
Thomas Lane is seen here to the far right holding down George Floyd’s legs during his arrest as the man said he could not breathe. This was on his fourth full day as a police officer
Earl Gray, told the Today show: ‘He was doing what he thought was right. He did not stand by and watch.’ Gray said his client asked Chauvin ‘ shall we roll him over because he says he can’t breathe’ but ‘he said no’ and Gray says Lane obeyed his superiors’s orders
The former police officer charged with George Floyd¿s murder is facing a judge for the first time. This, as the future of the Minneapolis Police Department remains uncertain as the city council pledges to ¿dismantle¿ the department. @gabegutierrez is in Minneapolis with more. pic.twitter.com/4F5Liy58MV
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) June 8, 2020
Lane’s lawyer said he ‘was holding the legs because the guy was resisting at first’.
Gray said his client asked Chauvin ‘shall we roll him over because he says he can’t breathe’ but ‘Chauvin says no’.
His lawyer added: ‘Now, if you’ve ever been in the military, you ask your sergeant should we do something and he says no, are you going to say, ‘Well no, I’m going to do it anyway’? I don’t think so,’
Chauvin, who is also charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in Floyd’s May 25 death, is scheduled to make his first court appearance Monday.
He is being held at a state prison in Oakdale. Kueng, Lane and Thao remain in the Hennepin County jail on $750,000 bond.
It was revealed Saturday that Lane had a string of criminal offences and traffic violations before he became a cop.
Before he joined the force, Business Insider revealed that Lane had racked up a slew of traffic violations and became an officer despite having a criminal record.
Lane was convicted of seven charges in total, among them obstructing legal process and one charge of damaging property.
He had also worked a variety of jobs in the service industry before he was hired as a police officer.
Lane’s personnel file has been released by his former employer, the Minneapolis Police Department, but with many sections redacted.
His file notes that Lane left high school before graduating and then held at least ten jobs between 2010 and 2017.
During this time, he pursued his GED and a college degree as he worked as a laborer, a telemarketer, a server, a bartender, a security guard, and a sales associate.
In 2017, he began a job as a juvenile correctional officer and assistant probation officer, the file states.
Lane started as a police cadet in 2019 and was a rookie on the force, only on his fourth full-time shift, when on Memorial Day he was one of the first officers to respond to claims that George Floyd, 46, had attempted to use a counterfeit $20 bill.
He now faces 40 years in jail after being charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder – unintentional – while committing a felony and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter, culpable negligence creating unreasonable risk.
Lane is one of four former Minneapolis police officers arrested and charged with the death of George Floyd, pictured, which sparked protests across the world
Derek Chauvin, pictured left, is charged with second-degree murder of George Floyd. The other three former officers, J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao (pictured from second left to right) have been charged with aiding and abetting Chauvin
In his first court appearance Thursday, Lane’s attorney argued that he was barely off probation and suggested he could do little to sway the much more senior officer Chauvin, who is charged with Floyd’s murder.
‘What was he supposed to do? Tell Chauvin to get off?’, said Lane’s attorney, Earl Grey.
Grey referred to Lane as ‘a good guy,’ and pointed to his inexperience in contrast with Chauvin’s status as a 20-year veteran.
He reminded the judge that his client had asked repeatedly, ‘Shall we roll him?’ and it was his client and his alone who got into the ambulance and attempted to resuscitate Floyd with CPR.
Officers Lane and Kueng were the first to arrive at the scene at 8.08pm, May 25 when someone made a 911 call reporting a man for buying merchandise from Cup Foods with a counterfeit $20.
Floyd was parked in a car just around the corner when the officers arrived. There were three people in the car, with Floyd in the driver’s seat. As Lane began speaking with Floyd through his open window, he pulled his gun and asked Floyd to show him his hands.
Floyd placed his hands on the steering wheel and Lane reholstered his gun.
The footage goes on to show Floyd complying with all the officers’ requests – getting out of the car, sitting on the ground, being handcuffed.
Derek Chauvin, 44, the officer filmed kneeling on Floyd’s neck during his arrest was a 19-year veteran of the force. He faces murder charges in Floyd’s death
The probable cause statement notes that as he sat on the ground, ‘Floyd said, ‘Thank you man,’ and was calm.’
It was only when Lane stood Floyd up and tried to get him into the squad car that the man ‘stiffened’ and fell to the ground.
The statement said, ‘Mr. Floyd told the officers that he was not resisting but did not want to get in the back seat and was claustrophobic’.
Chauvin and Thao arrived in separate squad cars at this point and all four officers began trying to push Floyd into the car as he, ‘repeatedly said that he could not breathe.’
At 8.19pm Chauvin pulled Floyd from the car and he went to the ground face down. Keung had his back, Lane held his legs, Chauvin placed his knee on Floyd’s neck in an act that has reverberated around the world.
Floyd said, ‘I’m about to die,’ he repeatedly called for his ‘mama’ and said he could not breathe but they held their positions as Chauvin pressed the life out of the father of two.
After five minutes Floyd stopped moving, after six he fell silent and stopped breathing. Lane said he ‘wanted to roll him on his side.’ Kueng check his wrist and found no pulse.
Still they held their positions. Two minutes later at 8.27pm Chauvin finally relinquished his pressure.
Former Minnesota police officer Thomas Lane, one of three officers charged with aiding and abetting in the murder of George Floyd, is seen in an artist’s sketch attending a court hearing on Thursday. He has an unconditional bail of $1million or $US750,000 with conditions
Defense attorney Earl Gray speaks to the press on Thursday after representing former Minneapolis police Officer Thomas Lane in his first court appearance in Minneapolis
Floyd’s death has ignited calls to reform the Minneapolis Police Department, which community activists have long accused of entrenched racial discrimination and brutality.
A majority of Minneapolis City Council members said Sunday that they favor disbanding the department entirely, though they have yet to offer concrete plans for what would replace it.
‘Nobody is saying we want to abolish health or safety,’ Council Member Alondra Cano told WCCO-AM on Monday. ‘What we are saying is we have a broken system that is not producing the outcomes we want.’
The state last week launched a civil rights investigation of the department.
On Friday, the council approved a stipulated agreement that immediately banned the use of chokeholds and neck restraints and included several other changes. That investigation is ongoing.