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“If the public is there and they’re so in an uproar about this, they didn’t intercede either,” Earl Gray told Chris Cuomo on CNN's “Cuomo Prime Time” on Monday.
Gray represents former Minneapolis police officer Thomas Lane, who was fired along with three other officers in the aftermath of Floyd’s death. Floyd died on May 25 in Minneapolis while lying on the ground, unarmed and handcuffed, while white arresting officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee against his neck for nearly nine minutes. An autopsy later stated Chauvin continued applying pressure even after Floyd became unresponsive.
Lane and two other officers assisted the arrest as Floyd stated that he couldn’t breathe and cried out for his mother. The deadly arrest was in response to a report that a man had attempted to use a counterfeit $20 bill. Floyd’s death was classified as a homicide by an independent medical examiner last week.
Lane, along with former officers J. Kueng and Tou Thao, was charged last week with aiding and abetting second-degree murder the same day that Chauvin's third-degree murder charge was upgraded to second-degree, following activists’ calls for their prosecution. The state of Minnesota has also filed a human rights complaint against the Minneapolis Police Department for Floyd’s death.
While Gray claimed in his interview that bystanders didn’t intervene, footage from a bystander appears to show other bystanders pleading with Chavin to take his knee off Floyd’s neck.
CNN's Cuomo also took issue with Gray's contention. “The idea that the civilians should have rushed in to a policing situation in the inner city of Minneapolis against four police officers that have weapons and are kneeling on the neck of a man — don’t you think that’s asking a little much of civilians and a little too little of your client?” Cuomo told the lawyer.
Gray backpedaled and agreed. “Absolutely. I’m not, I just brought that up,” he said.
Gray also claimed in the Monday interview that his client was on the job for four days during the arrest and claimed Lane was “down where he can’t really see" during the arrest.
Widespread protests have erupted all over the world following the death of Floyd. His death has sparked a conversation about racial injustice and police brutality as well as a call to defund the police.
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