Three of the men charged in the killing of George Floyd appeared in court for the first time on Thursday, where it was revealed that two of the officers had been on the force for less than a week and had followed their training officer’s directions while detaining Floyd. That training officer was Derek Chauvin, who was charged with second-degree murder after video showed him kneeling on the unarmed black man’s neck for over eight minutes.
Forbes reports that Thomas Lane’s attorney argued that it was Lane’s fourth shift when they encountered Floyd. The attorney argued that Lane held Floyd’s feet so that he wouldn’t kick in the direction of Chauvin.
“What was my client supposed to do but follow what his training officer said?” the attorney said.
He added that Lane twice asked Chauvin whether they should “roll him over.”
“No, staying put where we got him,” Chauvin reportedly responded.
Lane also said that Floyd may be in “delirium” as the man called for his deceased mother.
“I am worried about excited delirium or whatever,” Lane supposedly said.
“That’s why we have him on his stomach,” was Chauvin’s purported response.
J. Alexander Kueng was on his third shift and was also being trained by Chauvin. His attorney claimed that he told the other officers on the scene that they “shouldn’t do that,” referring to restraining Floyd, as NBC News reports.
The two officers were promoted from recruits on December 10 and were assigned to the Third Precinct on March 1. They had reportedly just started their patrol duty the week that Floyd died.
Footage of Floyd’s death shows Lane, Kueng, and Chauvin restraining the man on the ground as he repeatedly said that he was unable to breathe.
Both Kueng and Lane have been charged with aiding and abetting manslaughter, along with another officer, Tou Thao. If convicted, they face up to 40 years in prison. All three have been removed from duty. Bail was set at $1 million, compounded with $750,000 conditional bail. None of the officers entered any pleas.
Floyd was arrested after he was accused of paying with a counterfeit $20 bill. Lane came across Floyd sitting in a parked car nearby, where he placed the man in handcuffs. After resisting, Kueng held Floyd down on the ground by kneeling on his back, while Lane pushed down on the man’s legs.
Eventually, Chauvin kneeled on the man’s back and neck. Eventually, Floyd became unresponsive and was later declared dead at a local hospital. Video of the death has touched off days of protests against police brutality.