Officer charged in death of George Floyd released on bond
By Jim Hagerty
MINNEAPOLIS – One of four ex-officers charged in the death of George Floyd has been released on bond.
Thomas Lane, 37, was released from Hennepin County Jail Wednesday afternoon after posting bail, according to court documents. His bond was set at $1 million.
Lane is charged with manslaughter and aiding and abetting second-degree murder, allegations that stem from a May 25 incident that left Floyd, 46, dead.
The Memorial Day incident drew national outrage when a video showing officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes went viral. Additional footage was later released showing two other officers holding Floyd’s back and legs. Authorities say those officers are Lane and J. Alexander Kueng.
Footage also shows former officer Tou Thao standing next to Chauvin as Floyd is pinned to the pavement, telling them repeatedly that he couldn’t breathe.
Kueng was first to make contact with Floyd, stopping his vehicle after receiving a report that a black man who appeared high tried to pass a bunk 20-dollar bill at a nearby store.
Kueng briefly struggled with Floyd near the driver’s side of a dark-colored SUV, a surveillance video shows. Floyd is eventually placed in handcuffs and doesn’t appear to be a threat. He’s then walked across the street to an awaiting transport vehicle, where Chauvin arrived to assist responding officers. Floyd reportedly refused to get into the vehicle and can be seen in the footage falling to the ground.
According to a criminal complaint, a tussle ensued between Chauvin and Floyd and the officer was able to get Floyd into the back seat. Floyd, however, somehow ended up back onto the street alongside the vehicle.
Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder. His bond is set at $1 million with conditions, $1.25 million without. Kueng and Thou are also charged with manslaughter and aiding and abetting. As of this report, all three men are still in custody. Chauvin has been moved to a state prison for safety and COVID-19 concern.
All four officers have been fired.
Minneapolis was rocked with rioting and looting after Floyd’s death, followed by boisterous protests that included cries to defund and dismantle the police department. Nine aldermen announced last weekend that they support that measure. Mayor Jacob Frey, and Police Chief Medaria Arradondo have other ideas, however.
Frey was jeered by an angry mob of demonstrators who packed the streets and called for his ouster after he said he is not in favor of dismantling the force and wishes to overhaul it. That’s also Arradondo’s idea. The chief told reporters Wednesday that he will make “transformational reforms,” ones that include a system to identify problem officers early.
“We will have a police department that our communities view as legitimate, trusting and working with their best interests at heart,” Arradondo said at a news conference.
Arradondo also said the Minneapolis Police Department will withdraw from police union contract negotiations. The union’s contract expired on Dec. 31 but remains in effect until there is a new one. Talks began in October and eventually included a state mediator; the last discussion was in early March, when the coronavirus led to talks breaking off.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.