Officer facing aiding and abetting charge in death of George Floyd released on bail

MINNEAPOLIS -- One of the three former officers charged with aiding and abetting in the death of George Floyd has been released on bail.

According to jail records, Thomas Lane was released from custody at 4:08 p.m. Wednesday, June 10, a week after he was first taken into custody.

He was charged last week in Floyd's death, days after Derek Chauvin was charged with murder in the case. Lane was one of the three other officers who was on scene while Chauvin kneeled on top of Floyd during the arrest.

During a hearing, a judge allowed Lane and the other officers to be freed on $750,000 with conditions, including agreeing to supervision and showing up for court hearings.

Power dynamics may have been magnified in the Floyd case because two of the four officers involved were rookies and Chauvin, the most senior officer on the scene, was a training officer. Even though lawyers for the rookie officers, Lane and J. Alexander Kueng, say both men voiced their concerns about Chauvin's actions in the moment, they ultimately failed to stop him.

Chauvin is now charged with second-degree murder, and his three fellow officers are charged with aiding and abetting.

Attorneys for the two rookies emphasized their place in police hierarchy in the now-fired officers’ initial court appearance -- noting both were on just their fourth day as full-fledged cops at the time of Floyd’s May 25 arrest, while Chauvin was an authority figure as a designated training officer for new cops.

“They’re required to call him ‘Sir,’” Lane’s attorney, Earl Gray, told the judge. “He has 20 years’ experience. What is my client supposed to do but to follow what the training officer said? Is that aiding and abetting a crime?”

Gray noted that Lane questioned Chauvin’s actions during the arrest, and Kueng's lawyer Thomas Plunkett said his client told fellow cops, “You shouldn’t be doing this.”

But according to the criminal complaints that detailed Floyd’s arrest on suspicion of passing a counterfeit bill, the officers didn’t back up their words with actions.

Lane held Floyd’s legs and Kueng held his back while Chauvin placed his knee on Floyd’s head and neck. That’s when Floyd repeatedly said “I can’t breathe, “Mama” and “please.” At one point, Floyd said, “I’m about to die.” Nevertheless, Chauvin, Lane and Kueng didn’t move. And a fourth officer, Tou Thao, continued standing nearby keeping onlookers back.

Moments later, Lane asked “should we roll him on his side?” Chauvin replied: “No, staying put where we got him.” Lane said he was worried Floyd would experience excited delirium, a condition in which a person can become agitated and aggressive or suddenly die, according to the documents.

“That’s why we have him on his stomach,” Chauvin replied.

Despite his concerns, Lane didn’t do anything to help Floyd or to reduce the force being used on him, the complaint said. Neither he, nor Keung and Chauvin moved from their positions until an ambulance came and took Floyd to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Minneapolis police added a “duty to intervene” policy in 2016, saying officers are required to "either stop or attempt to stop another sworn employee when force is being inappropriately applied or is no longer required.” City officials have moved to strengthen that duty by seeking to make it enforceable in court, and to require officers to immediately report to their superiors when they see use of any neck restraint or chokehold.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.