The attorney for Thomas Lane, one of the four former Minneapolis police officers charged in the May 25 killing of George Floyd, makes a startling remark about the circumstances surrounding Floyd’s death.
While speaking to Chris Cuomo on Monday’s broadcast of “Cuomo Prime Time,” Lane’s lawyer Earl Gray criticized bystanders for not intervening when fellow cop Derek Chauvin, who has since been fired and charged, pinned Floyd’s neck to the ground with his knee.
“If the public is there and they’re so in an uproar about this, they didn’t intercede either,” Gray says.
Per footage of the incident later posted to Facebook, the crowd pleads with Chauvin to take his knee off of Floyd’s neck.
After Gray argued that his client, who helped Chauvin restrain Floyd, was “down where he can’t really see,” Cuomo immediately interjected.
“Two things — one, you’re laying on a man’s legs, you’ve got a fine view of what’s going on with that man. The other officer is literally a foot in front of you on his neck,” Cuomo said.
Though Cuomo understands that Lane — who was four days on the job — had to follow orders from senior officer Chavin, Cuomo highlighted “there’s also a duty to intervene.”
“And the idea that the civilians should have rushed in to a policing situation in the inner city of Minneapolis against four police officers that have weapons and are kneeling on the neck of a man — don’t you think that’s asking a little much of civilians and a little too little of your client?” Cuomo asked.
Gray appeared to backpedal from his previous remarks, responding, “Absolutely. I’m not… I just brought that up.”
In a different interview with “Today,” Gray alleges Floyd initially resisted arrest, which is why his client held Floyd by his legs.
“He was holding [Floyd’s] legs because the guy was resisting at first. Now, when he’s holding his legs he says to Chauvin, ‘Well, should we roll him over because he says he can’t breathe?’ Chauvin says, ‘No.’”
Gray also says Lane “did not stand by and watch” the attack on Floyd.
Lane — along with fellow terminated officers J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao — have been charged with aiding and abetting second degree murder and aiding and abetting second degree manslaughter.
Chauvin faces second degree murder, third degree murder, and second degree manslaughter charges.