The attorney for Thomas Lane, one of the four officers involved in George Floyd’s death, said his client did everything he thought was right on the day of the arrest.
“He did more than that,” attorney Earl Gray told CNN’s Chris Cuomo Monday. “He went into the ambulance, and he’s the one that was doing CPR. He’s a man of compassion, he’s not a violent person.”
Lane was one of two officers seen in a video helping former officer Derek Chauvin pin Floyd to the ground for nearly nine minutes. A fourth officer stood by as it happened.
Lane and the two other officers who assisted in the arrest – J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao – were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.
Chauvin was initially charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Last week, prosecutors added the more serious second-degree murder charge.
As Chauvin, who was Lane’s training officer, pressed his knee on Floyd’s neck during the arrest, Lane suggested they roll the man to his side multiple times, Gray said.
But Chauvin declined and Gray repeatedly cited Lane’s rookie status in explaining why he didn’t challenge Chauvin’s actions. Lane had been on the force for four days, Gray said, while Chauvin was a police officer with the Minneapolis Police Department for nearly 19 years.
“Hindsight is very accurate. He thought he was doing what was right,” Gray added.
Attorney: Body cam footage would change public’s opinion
Gray said Monday the public would likely have a different opinion on Lane’s actions if they saw body cam footage of the arrest.
“Particularly if they (public) had any knowledge of what police procedure is and how they (officers) should proceed on a felony arrest,” he told Cuomo. “Particularly when the individual they are arresting is under the influence of some kind of drug, which was clearly evident in this situation.”
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said the technique that was used to pin the man’s head to the ground was against department regulations.
“The technique that was used is not permitted; is not a technique that our officers get trained in on,” the mayor said following Floyd’s death. “And our chief has been very clear on that piece. There is no reason to apply that kind of pressure with a knee to someone’s neck.”
Gray says officers ‘were struggling’ with Floyd
Gray says he’s seen his client’s body camera footage – which has not been released to the public – and says it shows Floyd “resists” going into the police cruiser.
Floyd’s friend, Maurice Lester Hall, previously told CNN Floyd was startled when the police approached their car and he was just “trying to diffuse the situation.” He said Floyd did not resist arrest.
A video that captured Floyd’s last moments was recorded by a bystander and multiple people can be heard talking to the officers. One witness who spoke to CNN described the scene of the arrest and said Floyd, who was on the pavement, was not resisting.
Gray said the officers struggled to control Floyd, who never violently resisted arrest but “it was not a kind of nonresistance that an individual should do when a police officer is arresting him.”
So far, videos from the day of the arrest that have been made public don’t show Floyd resisting arrest. One video appears to show Floyd being escorted to a sidewalk while handcuffed, while another shows an officer seemingly struggling with someone inside the police car.
CNN’s Andy Rose contributed to this report.