2 officers involved in George Floyd death were rookies, attorney says 1 was on his 4th day

Thomas Lane stands before the judge on Thursday.

One of the police officers arrested and charged with aiding and abetting the murder of George Floyd was on his fourth day on the job when the incident occurred. 

According to Earl Grey, the defense attorney for Thomas Lane, the rookie officer was on his fourth day on patrol.

“What would your state of mind be if you work your rear end off to become a cop and four days on the job, you’re accused of murder?” Grey asked, arguing that his client did not aid in a murder.

Lane, along with Tou Thao and J. Alexander Kueng face second-degree aiding and abetting murder and manslaughter charges. Derek Chauvin, a 19-year Minneapolis officer, is charged with second-degree murder in the case.


J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao have been charged with aiding and abetting former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd. (Credit: Hennepin County Sheriff's Office)

In videos from the scene, according to charging documents, Lane can be heard asking several times about rolling Floyd over and Chauvin said no.

“You’ve got a 20-year cop on the front and my guy’s back there with four days,” said Grey. “’Shall we roll him over?’ and he says, ‘No, we’ll wait for the ambulance’ twice. And then he says he’s suffering from a delirium? I don’t know what you’re supposed to do as a cop.”


All three officers appeared in front of a judge on Thursday.

During their first court appearances Thursday, Kueng’s attorney described the rookie officer as a “young African-American from North Minneapolis” who “wanted to make that community a better place.”

Several times during the arrest, Kueng’s attorney said Kueng advocated that they shouldn’t do this and that they couldn’t find a pulse.

Grey argued that Lane, like Kueng, was a rookie officer concerned about Floyd, but was overruled by his superior officer.

“If three cops are trying to restrain somebody and one doesn’t agree, well that one cop should go beat up the other two cops and let the guy go? That’s absurd!” Grey said.

Grey will file a motion to contest the evidence. The judge agreed that Lane’s statements did warrant that kind of hearing, but no date is set for that yet.

All three officers will be back in court June 29.