A lawyer speaking on behalf of former Minneapolis police officer Thomas Lane on Thursday disclosed that both Lane and fired cop J. Alexander Kueng were less than a week into training with Derek Chauvin as their supervisor when George Floyd died.
Lane was on his third shift as an officer and Kueng was on his fourth. Collectively, the two had spent a week in uniform under Chauvin’s guidance before being charged as co-conspirators in the death of Floyd.
Attorney Earl Gray claims Lane had little option but to follow his senior officer’s guidance, and he calls the case levied against Lane “extremely weak,” according to an Associated Press report.
Lane reportedly held Floyd’s feet, according to Gray, while Chauvin knelt on the handcuffed man’s neck for roughly nine minutes.
Chauvin — who was fired from the Minneapolis Police Department after the incident, along with the three others — was arrested a few days later and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter, the AP report detailed.
Gray also alleges that Lane was concerned about Floyd’s well-being during his arrest and asked Chauvin to consider readjusting Floyd’s position two times, the AP reported.
“What was my client supposed to do but follow what his training officer said? Is that aiding and abetting a crime?” Gray asked, according to the AP.
Former officers Lane, Keung and Tou Thao all found themselves in handcuffs on Wednesday after they were deemed co-conspirators in Floyd’s killing by Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison.
The trio had their bond set at $750,000 a person when they made court appearances the following day. Chauvin’s charge was upgraded to second-degree murder.
Gray and Tom Plunkett, Keung’s attorney, requested lower bail from the court but were denied on the premise that Lane and Keung had been full officers since December of 2019.
They were undergoing the necessary supervised field training before they could be deemed completely qualified, according to the AP report.
Keung, an African-American, was born and raised in a majority-black neighborhood. His lawyer says he joined the Minneapolis Police Department because he “wanted to make his community a better place.”
There has been talk within the Minneapolis City Council of abolishing the police department altogether.
Keith Ellison’s son, Democratic City Council President Jeremiah Ellison, took to Twitter on Wednesday to claim the city would “dismantle” the police force and “dramatically rethink” public safety.
We are going to dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department.
And when we’re done, we’re not simply gonna glue it back together.
We are going to dramatically rethink how we approach public safety and emergency response.
It’s really past due. https://t.co/7WIxUL6W79
— Jeremiah Ellison (@jeremiah4north) June 4, 2020
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