MINNEAPOLIS, MN— On Wednesday, June 3, the ex-officers complicit in the murder of George Floyd, 46, were arrested and charged. While Derek Chauvin, 44, was charged with second-degree murder, Thomas Lane, 37, J. Alexander Kueng, 26, and Tou Thao, 34, were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter. The bail for all four officers was set at $1 million.
Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng were the first officers to arrive at Cup Foods. A 911 call alleged Floyd had purchased merchandise with a counterfeit $20 bill. The criminal complaint filed by the Hennepin County Attorney details the confrontation between the officers and Floyd.
Lane and Keung approached Floyd, who was in his car. Lane then pulled his gun out and directed it at Floyd’s window. When Floyd cooperated and placed his hands in their view, Lane put his gun away. He then ordered Floyd to step out of the vehicle and put him in handcuffs. When Derek Chauvin and Tou Thao arrived on the scene, the incident escalated. Chauvin pinned Floyd down while Lane held his legs and Keung held his back.
When Floyd said he was claustrophobic and unable to breathe, Lane voiced concern. He asked Chauvin whether they should roll Floyd onto his side and stated: “I am worried about excited delirium or whatever.” Chauvin dismissed both of Lane’s comments. George Floyd died minutes later.
Thomas Lane is a Minneapolis native, various relatives of his have worked for the Minneapolis police. His grandfather, Donald M. Mealey, was a detective. He married in 2018. Thomas Lane was an officer for one year, he was fired on May 26. Prior to the murder of George Floyd, he had no complaints in his file. He is a graduate of the University of Minnesota and a former juvenile detention guard. He also volunteered as a mentor to Somali refugees at an elementary school.
An anonymous relative of Lane spoke to The Star Tribune saying: “[Thomas] doesn’t have a bad bone in his body… This is just a terrible event and I feel bad for the lives lost and the Floyd family.”
Hennepin County District Court held the first hearing for the ex-officers on Thursday, June 4. Lane’s attorney, Earl Gray, argued that the case against Lane was weak. He added that Lane was a rookie on his fourth day on the force. Gray stated: “What was he supposed to do… go up to Mr. Chauvin, grab him and throw him off?”
Assistant Attorney General Matthew Frank countered this by sustaining Lane’s role in holding Floyd down. “That is the role of an aider and abettor,” he said.