1 officer seeks dismissal of charges in George Floyd killing

  • A woman prays outside a mural for George Floyd in Houston last month. The Washington Post — Joshua Lott

Published: 7/8/2020 5:59:24 PM
Modified: 7/8/2020 5:59:14 PM

MINNEAPOLIS — Transcripts of body-worn camera footage from the night George Floyd was killed and of an interview with one of the officers at the scene were filed in court Tuesday along with a motion to dismiss the charges against one of the officers who assisted in the arrest.

Attorney Earl Gray filed the motion and documents in supporting of a motion to dismiss charges against former rookie officer Thomas Lane. Pictures of the inside of the car Floyd was in at the time were included with the filing.

Gray’s motion says there isn’t enough evidence to establish probable cause that Lane committed a crime.

Lane and former colleagues J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao are charged with aiding and abetting murder and manslaughter in the May 25 killing of Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man from St. Louis Park.

Their former colleague, veteran officer Derek Chauvin, is charged with murder and manslaughter in the killing of Floyd after kneeling on his neck for nearly eight minutes.

Gray has argued in court that the case against Lane should be dismissed because his client twice asked if they should turn Floyd, who was handcuffed and lying stomach-down in the street, onto his side. Chauvin said no.

Lane was holding onto Floyd’s legs at the time. Kueng was holding onto Floyd’s back. Thao was managing a crowd nearby that had begun to gather and while some pleaded with the officers to lighten up.

The motion includes transcripts of footage from Kueng and Lane’s body cameras. Kueng’s attorney, Thomas Plunkett, confirmed that body-worn camera footage from Kueng and Lane were publicly filed as part of Lane’s motion. The state court website tracking all four former officers’ cases listed the transcripts but did not list the camera videos as having been filed. It’s unclear why; the courts could not be immediately reached for comment.

Lane’s body camera

A transcript of Lane’s body camera video shows that Floyd pleaded with officers not to shoot him during their initial encounter, and later begged for them not to place him in the back of the squad before the fatal encounter during which he pleaded for his mother and said “tell my kids I love them.”

As Lane approach the vehicle and briefly drew his weapon on Floyd when he didn’t immediately show his hands, Floyd said, “I’m sorry, I’m so sorry. God dang man. Man, I got shot. I got shot the same way, Mr. Officer, before.”

As Lane pulled Floyd from the vehicle, he asked Shawanda Renee Hill, a witness who had been in his car, why he was acting erratically.

“Why’s he getting all squirelly (sic) and not showing us his hands, just being all weird like that?”

“I have no clue, because he’s been shot before,” Hill said.

Legal arguments

Gray’s motion cites the following legal arguments in favor of dismissing the charges against Lane:

1. There is not substantial admissible evidence to survive a motion for a directed verdict that Thomas Lane aided and abetted second-degree murder or manslaughter.

2. There is no evidence in the voluminous discovery that Officer Lane played an intentional role in aiding the commission of a crime.

3. Lane did not intentionally aid, advise, hire, counsel, or conspire with Chauvin or otherwise procure Chauvin to commit second-degree murder.

4. 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.

Lane knew Floyd needed to be restrained and he knew Chauvin was authorized to use reasonable force to restrain.

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