George Floyd death: Officers Lane and Keung were rookies and Lane was only on his 4th day on duty, say lawyers

Tou Thao, Thomas Kiernan Lane and J Alexander Kueng have all been charged with aiding and abetting murder and manslaughter


                            George Floyd death: Officers Lane and Keung were rookies and Lane was only on his 4th day on duty, say lawyers
Thomas Kiernan Lane, J Alexander Kueng (Hennepin County Sheriff's Office)

One of the Minneapolis police officers who have been arrested and charged with aiding and abetting George Floyd's death was on just his fourth day as a cop, his lawyer has revealed.

Following widespread outrage, officials in Minnesota, last week, took Derek Chauvin into custody and charged him with third-degree murder — a charge that has since been upgraded to second-degree murder — and manslaughter.

Chauvin was the officer caught on video kneeling on the 46-year-old truck driver's neck for several minutes as he begged and pleaded that he could not breathe. Three other officers, Thomas Kiernan Lane, J Alexander Kueng, and Tou Thao, were also at the scene and were accused of doing nothing to stop Floyd's death.

However, speaking at an initial court hearing, Earl Grey, the defense attorney for Lane, said his client was a rookie who had earned his license in August and was on just his fourth day on the job. "What would your state of mind be if you work your rear end off to become a cop and four days on the job, you’re accused of murder?" he asked the court, before insisting Lane did not aid the murder.

Lane, along with Kueng and Thao, was arrested earlier this week and charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder, as well as aiding and abetting manslaughter. They are charges that carry the maximum punishment of up to 40 years in prison.

In charging documents obtained by Fox 9, Lane's attorneys also pointed out that their client was the officer who could be heard several times asking about rolling Floyd over due to concerns for his well-being, only for Chauvin, a 19-year veteran of the force, to say no.

"You’ve got a 20-year cop on the front and my guy’s back there with four days," Grey said. "'Shall we roll him over?' and he says 'No, we’ll wait for the ambulance' twice. And then he says he’s suffering from a delirium? I don’t know what you’re supposed to do as a cop."

He said Lane was concerned about Floyd but was overruled by his superior officer. "If three cops are trying to restrain somebody and one doesn’t agree, well that one cop should go beat up the other two cops and let the guy go? That’s absurd!" Grey argued.

Lane's family had previously spoken up in defense of the officer's character as well. One relative described him as a "compassionate and amusing and insightful" person who had tied the knot in 2018 and, after getting his license last August, was excited in continuing his family's legacy in law enforcement.

"He doesn’t have a bad bone in his body," the relative insisted. "This is just a terrible event and I feel bad for the lives lost and the Floyd family. Not all cops are bad. [He] is being categorized now and he shouldn’t be."

Kueng's attorney, too, described his client as a "rookie" officer and a "young African-American from North Minneapolis" who "wanted to make that community a better place." He said the officer had spoken up several times during Floyd's arrest and advocated they should stop because they couldn't find a pulse.

All three officers are being held on bonds of $750,000 each and are scheduled to be back in court on June 29.