The attorney for Thomas Lane, one of the four White police officers accused of killing Black custody inmate George Floyd, said in defence of his client that the latter had done everything he thought was right on the day of the arrest. “He did more than that,” attorney Earl Gray told CNN. “He went into the ambulance, and he’s the one that was doing CPR. He’s a man of compassion, he’s not a violent person.”
Lane is, however, one of the two officers seen in a video that had gone viral helping suspended officer Derek Chauvin pin Floyd to the ground for nearly 9 min. A fourth officer stood by as the act concluded.
Lane and the two other officers who assisted in the arrest of J Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and manslaughter.
The initial charge against Chauvin was of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Last week, prosecutors added the more serious second-degree murder charge.
As Lane’s training officer Chauvin pressed his knee on the neck of Floyd during the arrest, the junior officer suggested they roll the man to his side multiple times, the attorney said. But the boss declined.
Lane’s attorney repeatedly made the point his client was a rookie to explain why he was not in a position to challenge Chauvin. Lane had joined the force barely four days ago, Gray said, while Chauvin had been an officer with the Minneapolis Police Department for almost 19 years.”Hindsight is very accurate. He thought he was doing what was right,” Gray said.
The attorney asserted on 8 June if the public saw the bodycam footage of the arrest, they would revise their opinion about his client’s actions. “Particularly if they (public) had any knowledge of what police procedure is and how they (officers) should proceed on a felony arrest,” he said, adding, “Particularly when the individual they are arresting is under the influence of some kind of drug, which was clearly evident in this situation.”
In his testimony, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said the technique that was used to pin the man’s head to the ground was against department regulations. “The technique that was used is not permitted; is not a technique that our officers get trained in on,” the mayor said following Floyd’s death. “And our chief has been very clear on that piece. There is no reason to apply that kind of pressure with a knee to someone’s neck.”
Attorney says cops ‘were struggling’ to hold Floyd
Gray said he had seen his client’s body camera footage — which the public hadn’t. The attorney said the video showed Floyd resisted getting into the police vehicle.
Maurice Lester Hall, Floyd’s friend, had earlier told the media Floyd was taken aback when the cops approached their car and he was just “trying to diffuse the situation”. Hall said Floyd had not resisted arrest.
A bystander had recorded the video that captured the last moments of Floyd. In it, several people can be heard talking to the policemen. A witness described the scene of the arrest, saying Floyd, as he lay on the pavement, was not resisting. However, there is a difference between not resisting once pinned to the ground and the scene before that, the attorney argued.
Gray said the cops struggled to control Floyd, who never violently resisted arrest but “it was not a kind of nonresistance that an individual should do when a police officer is arresting him.”
The videos of the arrest that went viral, however, are not helping change the public opinion. They don’t show Floyd resisting arrest. In one of the videos, Floyd is escorted to a sidewalk while handcuffed while another shows a cop apparently struggling with someone else inside the police car.