An attorney for one of the former cops charged in the murder of George Floyd appeared on CNN on Monday night, saying that his client is "not a violent person." Four Minneapolis police officers were involved in the incident, and after national outcry, all four have now been charged. Attorney Earl Gray said that his client, Thomas Lane, is not being treated fairly.
Gray represents Lane, one of the three police officers pinning Floyd to the ground at the time of his arrest. Another stood off to the side, while Derek Chauvin kept his knee of Floyd's neck. However, Gray told CNN host Chris Cuomo that what the viral videos don't show is Lane's attempts to resuscitate Floyd after the fact. "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," Gray said, adding that Lane's body camera footage tells the real story.
"If they saw the full body camera on my client, I believe [the community] would have a different opinion."
The attorney representing Thomas Lane, one of the former officers involved in George Floyd’s death, says body cam footage will shed new light on what happened that day. pic.twitter.com/EZXxsbYBjQ— Cuomo Prime Time (@CuomoPrimeTime) June 9, 2020
Gray said that public opinion on Lane would probably shift significantly if the body cam footage from the scene was released. "Particularly if they had any knowledge of what police procedure is and how [the police] should proceed on a felony arrest," he added. "Particularly when the individual they are arresting is under the influence of some kind of drug, which was clearly evident in this situation."
Lane has been charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter, as have officers J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao. Chauvin himself was originally charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, but the Minneapolis Attorney General elevated the murder charge to second-degree. Even those were hard to come by, as Chauvin was not charged until four days after Floyd's death.
Gray argued that Lane should get some leeway on this case due to his rookie status within the Minneapolis Police Department. He said that Lane had only been on the police force for four days, and was deferring to the instructions of Chauvin — an officer of 19 years. "Hindsight is very accurate. He thought he was doing what was right," Gray said.
Still, critics have argued that even a rookie would have known that Chauvin's knee on Floyd's neck is against department regulations and that his force was excessive. They also say that a "good cop" should have intervened when Floyd became unresponsive — nearly three minutes before Chauvin removed his knee. Lane's bail is set at $1 million. His next court appearance is scheduled for June 29.