Defense rests in federal trial in George Floyd’s killing

Steve Karnowski and Amy Forliti
Associated Press

St. Paul, Minn. – Defense attorneys in the federal trial for three officers charged with violating George Floyd’s civil rights have rested their cases, paving the way for closing arguments.

Thomas Lane’s attorney, Earl Gray, rested his case Monday. Lane’s co-defendants, Tou Thao and J. Alexander Kueng, presented their cases last week.

Lane testified that he thought Floyd was doing OK while handcuffed, facedown on the street with Officer Derek Chauvin’s knee pressed to his neck, until paramedics arrived and turned the 46-year-old Black man over.

This combination of photos provided by the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office in Minnesota on June 3, 2020, shows, from left, former Minneapolis police officers J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao.

Thao told the jury that he was relying on the other three officers to care for Floyd’s medical needs while he controlled the crowd and traffic. Kueng like Lane was a rookie and said he deferred to Chauvin.

All three are charged with depriving Floyd of his right to medical care. Kueng and Thao are also accused of failing to intervene to stop Chauvin in a killing that triggered protests worldwide and a re-examination of racism and policing.

Kueng knelt on Floyd’s back, Lane held his legs and Thao kept bystanders back.

During the monthlong trial, prosecutors have argued that the officers violated their training by not rolling Floyd onto his side or giving him CPR. Defense attorneys have attacked the department’s training as inadequate and have highlighted a culture that they said emphasized deference to senior officers like Chauvin.