George Floyd was killed on May 25 in Minneapolis after a white police officer, Derek Chauvin, 44, had his knee in the 46-year-old’s neck for more than seven minutes.
By May 29, Chauvin was fired from the Minneapolis Police Department and arrested on third-degree murder and manslaughter charges. On June 3, his charges were upgraded to second-degree murder by the state’s Attorney General Keith Ellison.
After being terminated, the three other officers who were on the scene when Floyd was killed, Thomas Lane, 37, Tou Thao, 34, and J. Alexander Kueng, 26, were arrested June 3 and charged with aiding and abetting.
Now Lane and Kueng are placing all the blame on Chauvin, their training officer who had reportedly been with the Minneapolis Police Department for nearly 20 years.
According to The Star Tribune, the attorneys for the three officers made their first court appearance on June 4. Thomas Plunkett, who represents Keung, tried to humanize him by saying he “is a Black man who grew up in north Minneapolis with a single mom who adopted four at-risk children from the community.”
Plunkett also stated, “At all times Mr. Kueng and Mr. Lane turned their attention to that 19-year veteran. [Kueng] was trying — they were trying to communicate that this situation needs to change direction.”
Kueng joined the Minneapolis Police Department in December 2019 but May 25 was only his third full shift as a police officer.
Lane had been with the department since February 2019 and had no history of complaints. His lawyer Earl Gray stated in court, “What was [Lane] supposed to do … go up to Mr. Chauvin and grab him and throw him off?”
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The bail for the three officers is set for $1 million without conditions, or $750,000 with conditions.
Yesterday (June 4), a memorial service was held for Floyd at North Central University in Minneapolis. Guests include Rev. Jesse Jackson, Democratic Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar, Martin Luther King III and Rev. Al Sharpton.
BET has been covering every angle of George Floyd’s death in police custody, other social justice cases and the subsequent aftermath and protests. For our continuing coverage, click here.