[George Floyd\Thomas Lane]
Attorney Earl Gray: “None of these guys — even Chauvin — actually killed him. He killed himself.”
The lawyer for Thomas Lane, shown here pulling a gun on George Floyd, will use the blame the deceased defense –which was also used to justify the murder of Eric Garner.
The public quickly reached its verdict: Minneapolis police killed George Floyd.
Video seen around the world shows him on the pavement, his neck pinned beneath the knee of Officer Derek Chauvin, pleading for his life — “I can’t breathe” — until his body goes limp.
Two autopsies concluded the death was a homicide.
Chauvin was charged with murder and three other officers — Thomas Lane and Alexander Kueng, who both helped hold down Floyd, and Tou Thao, who kept onlookers at bay — were charged as accomplices.
In an interview with The Times, a lawyer for Lane laid out for the first time what he said would be a central argument for the defense.
“None of these guys — even Chauvin — actually killed him,” said the attorney, Earl Gray. “He killed himself.”
Free to speak publicly since a judge lifted a gag order on all parties in the case late last month, Gray said he plans to argue that Floyd died from an overdose of the powerful opioid fentanyl and an underlying heart condition.
“We are going to show that my client and the other cops were doing their jobs,” he said.
The veteran criminal defense attorney said he will base his case on toxicology and autopsy reports as well as recently released police body camera footage that offers a fuller picture than the cellphone videos taken by people on the street.
The body camera videos show that well before Floyd was pinned to the ground, he told the officers at least six times: “I can’t breathe.”
Legal experts said that defense strategy is not as far-fetched as it may seem, especially given that juries have been reluctant to convict police in on-duty killings.
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