One of the police officers that is charged in connection with the killing of George Floyd is calling for the charges against him to be dropped, claiming that Floyd died from an overdose of fentanyl, not from now-former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on his neck for nearly nine minutes.
An attorney for former officer Thomas Lane, who was one of the officers who witnessed Chauvin kneel on Floyd's neck, filed a reply on Monday to prosecutors' defense of the charges that were brought against Lane, Chauvin and two other officers.
“Officer Lane did nothing wrong,” attorney Earl Gray wrote.
Gray had previously submitted a filing in July asking the court to throw out the charges against Lane because they were legally deficient, according to the Star Tribune.
This time around, Lane's lawyer played hardball, evoking Floyd's past crimes and his struggles with substance abuse.
“With this background in mind, the State’s suggestion that Officer Lane was required somehow to believe Mr. Floyd’s denial of culpability invites an adventure into Pollyana [sic] land,” Gray wrote.
Angela Harrelson, Floyd's aunt, told the Star Tribune that his past didn't make how he died acceptable.
“Regardless of his past, nothing justifies the way he died,” she said. “I just feel that to go after someone’s character to justify his death — I’m not pleased with that. I’m not saying that he was a perfect person. He made mistakes. And he had a disease that he was working hard to fight against and it’s a tough disease to fight.”
Transcripts of the officers' body cameras released in July show that Floyd was attempting to cooperate with police but seemed to be viscerally afraid of the officers.
Police had originally responded to reports of the use of a fake $20 bill. When J. Alexander Kueng, one of the other former officers, and Lane arrived on the scene, they found Floyd in a car. Transcripts show that Lane asked Floyd to show him his hands, eventually drawing his gun when Floyd didn't respond.
Talking to Kueng on the sidewalk, Floyd told the officer that he "didn’t know what was going on" when the officers first approached him.
When officers tried to put Floyd into the squad car, he resisted, saying that he was “claustrophobic” and had “anxiety.” He also said that he had just had COVID-19.
Eventually, Floyd was placed on the ground, and Chauvin, who is white, proceeded to kneel on Floyd's neck.
After Chauvin, the senior officer on the scene, told Floyd that he was under arrest, Floyd reportedly said, "Oh my god. I can’t believe this. I can’t believe this. Mama, I love you. ... Tell my kids I love them. I’m dead.”
“Uh huh,” Chauvin answered. “You’re doing a lot of talking, a lot of yelling.”
“Takes a heck of a lot of oxygen to say that,” Chauvin said at one point.
According to the transcripts, Lane asked Chauvin if Floyd should be moved from the position he's in, but Chauvin declined.
“No, leave him,” Chauvin said. “Staying put where we got him.”