Bail set at $1 million for three ex-officers charged in George Floyd case

Chao Xiong
Star Tribune (minneapolis)

Minneapolis – Bail was set at $1 million Thursday for three of the four former Minneapolis police officers charged in the killing of George Floyd.

Thomas Lane

J Alexander Kueng, Thomas K. Lane and Tou Thao made their first appearances before the same judge in Hennepin County District Court. All three fired Minneapolis police officers face several charges in the killing of Floyd during an arrest on Memorial Day.

Another former colleague, Derek Chauvin, seen pressing his knee into Floyd’s neck during the incident, was charged last week by the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

First appearances are typically procedural. But the hearing quickly turned contentious, with Lane’s attorney, Earl Gray, arguing that the cases against the officers are weak and that they did nothing wrong. Gray said Lane twice asked if they should roll Floyd on side but that Chauvin said no. “What was he supposed to do … go up to Mr. Chauvin, grab him and throw him off?” Gray said.

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison on Wednesday charged Kueng, 26, of Plymouth; Lane, 37, of St. Paul; and Thao, 34, of Coon Rapids, with one count each of aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.

J. Alexander Kueng

Hennepin County District Court Judge Paul Scoggin set each of their bails at $1 million without conditions or $750,000 with conditions, which include surrendering any guns they have.

Ellison, who is now leading the investigation and prosecution, filed a count of second-degree unintentional murder Wednesday against Chauvin.

Chauvin is scheduled to make his first court appearance Monday.

The four are accused of killing Floyd, a 46-year-old from St. Louis Park, on May 25.

Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds while Floyd told the officers he couldn’t breathe, and as bystanders pleaded with them to stop.

According to the charges, Lane and Kueng responded AT about 8:08 p.m. to a report of a man using a counterfeit $20 bill at Cup Foods on the corner of Chicago Avenue and East 38th Street.

They found Floyd sitting in a car nearby with two passengers. Lane pointed his gun at Floyd, re-holsterd it, physically removed Floyd and handcuffed him.

Tou Thao

The officers tried to get Floyd, who told them he was not resisting but was claustrophobic, into their squad car.

At some point, Chauvin and Thao arrived at the scene. Chauvin allegedly pulled Floyd, who was still handcuffed, out of the squad car at about 8:19 p.m.

Floyd landed stomach-down on the pavement, where Kueng held onto his back and Lane restrained his legs.

Chauvin placed his left knee on Floyd’s neck.

Floyd told the officers, “I can’t breathe,” and called out, “Mama” and “please,” the charges said.

The officers did not move from their positions until 8:27 p.m. despite Floyd’s pleas, those from bystanders or the fact that Kueng detected no pulse on Floyd, the complaint said.

Floyd’s death sparked worldwide protests after video of the incident was recorded and shared by a bystander. In the video, Thao was seen standing watch over his colleagues and rebuffing witnesses who tried to intervene.

Kueng, Lane and Thao were in custody at the Hennepin County jail as of late Wednesday.

Chauvin was being held at the state prison at Oak Park Heights.