The family of one of the Minneapolis police officers charged in the murder of George Floyd has created a crowdfunding campaign and is seeking help from the public with making bail. Social media users were shocked this week when a new website emerged asking the public for help in paying Thomas Lane's $1 million bail. After two weeks of protests across the country, the fund created controversy when it reached social media.
Lane was one of the three officers pinning 46-year-old George Floyd to the ground when he died on Monday, May 25. After four days, the officer with his knee on Floyd's neck — Derek Chauvin — was arrested, but after a continued outcry, Lane and the other two officers on the scene were brought in as well. They are being charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter, but Lane's family argues that this is not fair.
The fundraiser notes that Lane had only become a police officer four days prior to Floyd's murder and that Lane was deferring to "senior officer Chauvin" in this case. It claims that Lane "used his voice not once, but multiple times, to plead with senior officer Chauvin and the other officers to roll Mr. Floyd to his side," and that he then tried to resuscitate Floyd in the ambulance.
"He did everything he could within his power to save Mr. Floyd's life," the fundraiser concludes. Elsewhere on the site, there are descriptions of Lane's academic achievements, volunteer work and his meeting with the Minneapolis mayor.
The site has multiple prompts to donate to Lane's bail fund, all of which lead directly to PayPal, where users are asked to send money to what appears to be an individual person's account. It is not run through a familiar crowdfunding service like GoFundMe, IndieGoGo or Kickstarter.
On Monday evening, Lane's lawyer, Earl Gray, voiced similar defenses of him during an appearance on CNN. He said that Lane is not a violent person, and suggested that if the body camera footage from the scene were made public, people would change their minds about Lane.
"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... "Hindsight is very accurate. He thought he was doing what was right." Lane's bail is set at $1 million, while Chauvin's is set at $1.25 million. Lane is due back in court on June 29.