Former cops Thomas Lane and J. Kueng, who were caught on camera holding down George Floyd, have pleaded not guilty.
Thomas Lane, who held Floyd’s feet, and J. Kueng, who knelt on Floyd’s back, each pleaded not guilty on Tuesday in Minneapolis to federal charges saying they violated George Floyd’s civil rights during his death at the hands of ex-Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin.
The two men aided in Floyd’s tragic arrest on May 25, 2020, during which a video showed them handcuffing Floyd as Chauvin knelt on his neck for nearly eight minutes. Tou Thao, the fourth officer involved, who repelled onlookers, is also facing civil rights charges.
Chauvin was convicted of murder and manslaughter by a jury in April and sentenced to more than 22 years in prison. Due to COVID-19 capacity constraints, the other three policemen were allowed to split their cases from Chauvin’s, delaying their trial on accusations of aiding and abetting until next March.
Kueng and Thao both requested that their trials be split from Chauvin’s, claiming that if they were tried together, they would face unjust bias. Lane has made the same request, but federal prosecutors have objected.
Lane instigated the arrest and ultimately assisted Floyd’s removal from the car, according to transcripts of the video showing Floyd’s death, adding, “We get over here, he starts grasping for the keys and all that stuff, starts getting strange, not showing us his hands.” I’m not sure what’s going on, so you’re exiting the vehicle.”
Following that, Chauvin and Kueng assisted in the arrest, which turned into an altercation in which Floyd was dragged to the ground and forcibly restrained despite several claims that he couldn’t breathe.
Floyd’s death prompted a lot of changes in police enforcement around the country. It prompted House Democrats to pass the Justice in Policing Act and the George Floyd Law Enforcement Trust and Integrity Act, both of which have yet to be approved by the Senate.
The three cops have requested the court overseeing their Minnesota state trial to prevent any broadcasting of the proceedings because of the political focus surrounding Floyd’s killing, claiming that some witnesses would not testify otherwise. Their request was met with opposition from prosecutors and journalistic organizations.
The matter of the policing bills is expected to gain traction as the case continues to gain attention. This is a condensed version of the information.