Minneapolis officer asks for charges to be dropped in George Floyd case

An attorney representing Thomas Lane, one of the former Minneapolis police officers charged for his role in the arrest and death of George Floyd, has filed a motion asking for the case against the Lane to be dismissed. 

Floyd, an unarmed Black man, died in May after a now-former white police officer, Derek Chauvin, was seen kneeling on his neck during an arrest. Chauvin held his knee on Floyd's neck for several minutes while the man pleaded for air until Floyd was unresponsive.

Chauvin was later dismissed from the Minneapolis Police Department, arrested and charged with second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. 

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Lane was one of three officers who was captured on video restraining Floyd during his arrest on May 25. Lane had been holding Floyd’s legs at the time beside another officer positioned near his waist as as Chauvin knelt on his neck. Lane as well as the other officers were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. 

In the motion filed on Tuesday, Lane’s attorney, Earl Gray, asked for the charges brought against Lane to be dropped for what he called a “lack of probable cause based on the entire record.” 

Gray argued in a memorandum Tuesday that “the circumstantial evidence proves Lane’s innocence, his lack of knowledge, and no criminal intent.” 

Gray noted in the memorandum that, while the officers had restrained Floyd with his face to the ground, Lane had “questioned Chauvin twice about rolling Floyd on to his side,” while also pointing out that Lane had joined Floyd in an ambulance afterward and performed CPR on him.

“Lane did not know what Chauvin was thinking while restraining Floyd. Chauvin did not verbally tell Lane anything about his intentions other than waiting for the ambulance to arrive,” Gray wrote.

The attorney claimed that since Floyd allegedly showed resistance during his arrest, Lane “knew Floyd needed to be restrained and he knew Chauvin was authorized to use reasonable force to restrain.”

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Gray maintained that Lane was hired by the Minneapolis Police Department about one year prior to the incident and had just completed officer training a few days before Floyd's death. Therefore, Lane had deferred to Chauvin's expertise for Floyd's arrest. 

"During the encounter with Floyd, Lane was 'going off Officer Chauvin’s experience and what he was saying,' hold him here until EMS arrives. Lane was aware that Chauvin had 20 years on," Gray wrote.

"Through the [field training officer] process, you trust and go to your senior officers for experience and help on calls, and the best thing to do in a situation, they give direction and you follow their lead. Another expectation is to call senior officers 'sir' when you are a new officer."

The Hill has reached out to Benjamin Crump, an attorney representing Floyd’s family, who are reportedly seeking a civil suit against the officers involved in the arrest that led to his death, for comment.