WATCH: Lawyer for Cop Implicated in George Floyd Killing Rips Charges as ’Bullsh*t,’ Says His Client Was Just a Trainee


The attorney for one of the former Minneapolis police officers charged with murdering George Floyd argued in court that his client was just a trainee and attempted to direct blame towards Derek Chauvin, the former officer who was seen on video with his knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes.

Earl Gray, the attorney for Thomas Lane, made the arguments as part of a preliminary hearing for Lane and the other two former officers, Tou Thao and J. Alexander Kueng. Charges against Chauvin had previously been brought; this hearing was to officially charge Lane, Thao, and Kueng with aiding and abetting second degree murder and aiding and abetting manslaughter, and to establish bail.

CNN’s John King interviewed reporter Josh Campbell, who was present at the hearing in Minneapolis. According to Campbell, each of the three defendants had a separate hearing, and were present in the courtroom wearing orange jumpsuits and their families in the audience.

The assistant attorney general asked for a very high bail amount for the defendants. Defense counsel for Lane and Kueng attempted to argue against that by pointing out their clients’ relative inexperience with the Minneapolis Police Department. On the day Floyd was killed, Lane had been with the MPD only four days, and Kueng was in the middle of only his third full shift on duty.

NBC reported that Gray argued that Lane had twice asked Chauvin about rolling Floyd over, and expressed concern that Floyd might be in a “delirium.” Chauvin, with nearly two decades of experience on the MPD and the designated training officer for Lane and Kueng, was characterized by Gray as deserving the blame for Floyd’s death.

“What is my client supposed to do other than follow what the training officer said?” Gray asked in court.

Gray made similar arguments in an interview with reporters outside the courtroom.

It would be unreasonable for my client to go up and try and drag Chauvin off of the deceased. You’ve got a 20-year cop in the front and my guy is back there with four days, “Should we roll him over?” He [Chauvin] said, “no, we’ll wait for the ambulance,” twice. Then he [Lane] says, “he’s suffering from a delirium?” I don’t know, I don’t know what you’re supposed to do as a cop. 

Chao Xiong, a reporter with the Minneapolis Star Tribune, conducted an additional interview with Gray and the other defense counsel, which he broadcast live on Periscope.

A few noteworthy moments: at the beginning of the video, the other two defense attorneys decline comment, stating that they were waiting until after Floyd’s funeral out of respect for the victim’s family. Gray makes no such comment. He goes into more detail about the charges against his client, calling them “bullshit.”

“You’ve gotta have criminal intent for second-degree murder and frankly this is bullshit,” said Gray.

In the end, the arguments from Gray and the other officers’ defense counsel were insufficient to persuade the judge, who ordered each of them held on an unconditional bail of $1 million compounded with a $750,000 conditional bail. Pleas have not yet been entered.

Watch the video above, via CNN.

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Sarah Rumpf joined Mediaite in 2020 and is a Contributing Editor focusing on politics, law, and the media. A native Floridian, Sarah attended the University of Florida, graduating with a double major in Political Science and German, and earned her Juris Doctor, cum laude, from the UF College of Law. Sarah's writing has been featured at National Review, The Daily Beast, Reason, Law & Crime, Independent Journal Review, Texas Monthly, The Capitolist, Breitbart Texas, Townhall, RedState, The Orlando Sentinel, and the Austin-American Statesman, and her political commentary has led to appearances on the BBC, MSNBC, NewsNation, Fox 35 Orlando, Fox 7 Austin, The Young Turks, The Dean Obeidallah Show, and other television, radio, and podcast programs across the globe.