An attorney for one of the three former Minneapolis officers standing trial in the George Floyd civil rights case says that not they but fellow former officer Derek Chauvin, who was convicted of Floyd’s murder, called “all the shots” in the fatal arrest, The Associated Press reported.
During the opening statements of the officers’ federal trial Monday, prosecutor Samantha Trepel said “these three CPR-trained defendants” — J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao — “stood or knelt next to Officer Chauvin as he slowly killed George Floyd right in front of them.”
“They chose not to protect George Floyd, the man they had handcuffed and placed in their custody,” Trepel said in her opening statement.
Kueng’s attorney Tom Plunkett contended that Chauvin giving the orders during the incident, citing his client’s inexperience and his and Lane’s referring to Chauvin as “sir,” according to the AP.
“You’ll see and hear officer Chauvin call all of the shots,” Plunkett said.
Plunkett also reportedly said that Chauvin was Kueng’s field training officer, giving him “considerable sway” over his future, adding that neither Kueng nor Lane were trained on the department’s policy on neck restraint.
Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, was killed in May 2020 when Chauvin kneeled on his neck for more than eight minutes during an arrest. His death, among others, sparked a nationwide movement on police brutality and social injustice.
Chauvin was convicted of murdering Floyd last April and was sentenced to more than 20 years prison for the crime two months later.