Thomas Lane testifies in federal trial for George Floyd killing

Thomas Lane George Floyd

Thomas Lane testifies in federal trial for George Floyd killing

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The defense attorney for the third former Minneapolis officer charged with violating George Floyd’s civil rights as Derek Chauvin pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck rested his case Monday, after the officer testified that he didn’t realize how dire Floyd’s condition was until paramedics turned him over.

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Thomas Lane testified that it was the first time he had seen the face of George Floyd, since officers had struggled with 46-year-old Black as they tried to arrest him. While Floyd was handcuffed, facedown on the pavement, Lane held Floyd’s legs and testified that he thought he saw Floyd’s chest rise and fall, and believed Floyd still had blood pressure based on the appearance of veins in his arm.

“What went through your mind when you saw his face there, once he was tipped over?” Gray asked.

“Um. He didn’t look good,” Lane said.

Under cross-examination, Lane told prosecutor Samantha Trepel that he was trained that he had a duty to intervene and to provide medical care if needed. Lane said when someone doesn’t have a pulse, CPR should be started as soon as possible “in ideal situations,” but said that isn’t always possible in law enforcement.

Lane agreed with Trepel that medical aid should be provided if a person is passed out with someone on their neck. But he also said he didn’t know how much pressure Chauvin was applying or where exactly his knee was when Floyd passed out.

“It seemed reasonable at the time. Mr. Floyd’s been pretty unpredictable,” Lane said, noting that Floyd had fought his way out of a squad car when officers put him there while responding to a complaint that he had used a counterfeit $20 bill at a corner store.

Lane said officers at one point considered using a hobble— a restraint device that would have required that Floyd be put on his side so that he could breathe more easily but the officers decided against using it.

“It seemed kind of excessive because we had an ambulance coming,” Lane said.

Lane said he also suggested putting Floyd’s legs up, since he was kicking, but that “Officer Chauvin said, ‘No, we’re good.’” Lane also recalled Chauvin rebuffing him when he asked if Floyd should be rolled onto his side after he stopped resisting.

When a bystander said Floyd wasn’t breathing, Lane responded that he was. Asked why, Lane testified, “I could see his chest rise and fall.”

Once paramedics arrived, one checked Floyd’s pulse and put him on a stretcher. Lane said he did not understand how grave Floyd’s condition was until he saw Floyd’s face. Lane said he then got into the ambulance to help and was told to do chest compressions.

As he recalled efforts to save Floyd’s life, he paused a few times and sniffed.

“I wasn’t sure if he was breathing or not,” Lane said.

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Paramedic Derek Smith testified previously that Floyd had no pulse, and other medical experts have said he likely stopped breathing minutes earlier.

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.

Lane, who is white; Kueng, who is Black; and Thao, who is Hmong American, also face a separate state trial in June on charges alleging that they aided and abetted murder and manslaughter.

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