Former Rookie Officer Charged in George Floyd’s Death Freed From Jail After Posting Bail
USLorenz Duchamps

One of the four fired Minnesota police officers charged in the police custody death of George Floyd in Minneapolis has been released from jail after his family and the public helped him post bail.

Thomas Lane, 37, was freed around 4 p.m. on Wednesday. A judge set his bail at $750,000 on June 4. He was held at the Hennepin County jail before posting bail, a spokesperson from the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office said.

Lane was charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter in Floyd’s police custody death on May 25. His next hearing is scheduled for June 29, and his attorney, Earl Gray, is planning to file a motion to dismiss the charges, according to multiple reports.

Bail was also set at $750,000 apiece for the other two former Minneapolis police officers J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao, who also made their first appearances in Hennepin County District Court last Thursday.

NTD Photo
This combination of photos provided by the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office in Minnesota on Wednesday, June 3, 2020, shows J. Alexander Kueng (L) and Tou Thao. (Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office via AP)

Lane was one of the two rookie police officers barely off probation when a more senior officer ignored Floyd’s cries for help and pressed a knee into his neck, defense attorneys said.

Gray said his client, Lane, had no choice but to follow the instructions of former Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin, who has since been charged with second-degree murder. Gray called the case against his client “extremely weak.”

Chauvin was videotaped pressing his knee to Floyd’s neck as he gasped “I can’t breathe” and called for his mother before he died. Chauvin remains in jail in lieu of $1.25 million bail.

Kueng and Thao have also been charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder. If convicted, they potentially face the same penalty as Chauvin, up to 40 years in prison.

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin
Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin poses for an undated booking photograph. (Minnesota Department of Corrections/Handout via Reuters)

Gray said on June 4 that all Lane did was hold Floyd’s feet so he couldn’t kick, and he underlined that the criminal complaint says Lane asked Chauvin twice if they should roll Floyd over and expressed concern that Floyd might be in delirium. He said Lane performed CPR in the ambulance. He also said his client was only on his fourth day on the job on patrol duty and that Chauvin was his training officer, whom he should obey.

“What was my client supposed to do but follow what his training officer said? Is that aiding and abetting a crime?” Gray asked.

Gray and Kueng’s defense attorney, Tom Plunkett, asked the court for lower bail, saying their clients had been police officers for just four days when Floyd was killed. Police records indicate that while the men were rookies, they had more experience than a handful of days on the force. According to their records, they joined the department in February 2019 and became full officers in December. Minneapolis officers must serve a year on probation and spend time in field training with a more senior officer before they are fully qualified.

George Floyd
George Floyd in a file photo. (Christopher Harris via AP)

Protests flared for a 17th day early on Thursday with crowds in Portland, Oregon, flooding city-center streets and some activists throwing bottles at police. At least 17 people have been killed so far in the nationwide protests following the death of Floyd⁠—the ages of those who died range from 18 to 77.

Many of those joining the more than two weeks of protests have been calling for a ban on chokeholds and the other methods of restraint used by police, as well as the “defunding of police.

Defense Fund

The family of Lane helped him post bale after setting up a fundraising page for the former officer earlier this week, asking the public for a donation for his “defense fund.”

On the fundraiser, the author of the page wrote the bail amount set is not reasonable and claims that Lane “did everything he could to save George Floyd’s life.”

“This shows a total disregard for equal justice under the law,” the page stated.

The total amount the page generated in donations is unclear, but the goal was set at $1 million. The page is no longer accessible as of Wednesday.

Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.