The attorney for one of the ex-police officers accused of killing George Floyd is contending the unarmed Black man died of a drug overdose, while Floyd's family says the defense is unfairly digging up Floyd's past.
“Officer Lane did nothing wrong,” attorney Earl Gray wrote in defense of his client Thomas Lane Monday, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
Gray contended Floyd swallowed fentanyl while the officers were attempting to take him into custody on May 25 and that Lane's actions had nothing to do with Floyd's death, according to local outlet Fox 9. Gray also contended Floyd was a drug addict with a criminal history who contributed to his own death by resisting arrest.
"While attempting to avoid his arrest, all by himself, Mr. Floyd overdosed on Fentanyl,” Gray wrote, according to Fox 9.
The Hennepin County Medical Examiner had said toxicology testing found fentanyl and methamphetamine in Floyd’s system at the time of his death. The office has also ruled George Floyd's death a homicide.
Floyd's family members said they were disappointed that Lane's attorney appeared to be using Floyd's addiction to condone his Lane's actions.
“Regardless of his past, nothing justifies the way he died,” Floyd's aunt Angela Harrelson told the Star Tribune. “I just feel that to go after someone’s character to justify his death — I’m not pleased with that. I’m not saying that he was a perfect person. He made mistakes. And he had a disease that he was working hard to fight against and it’s a tough disease to fight.”
Lane, J. Alexander Kueng, and Tou Thao all face charges of aiding and abetting Floyd's murder at the hands of Derek Chauvin, who has been charged with second-degree murder in Floyd's death. Thao has contended in interviews that he was a "human traffic cone" in a recently released interview, attempting to minimize his involvement in Floyd's killing, according to the Associated Press.
Both Lane and Thao are seeking dismissal of the charges against them.
Gray had previously contended that Lane was just a rookie officer following Chauvin's orders, but prosecutors contended Lane ignored department policy to intervene if another officer is using excessive force, The AP reported.
The new filing comes after the release of video showing Floyd crying and begging officers not to shoot him.
All four officers were fired from the Minneapolis Police Department after footage of Floyd's death was released earlier this year. The video, which showed Chauvin kneeling on Floyd's neck while bystanders pleaded the officers to stop, quickly spread across the country, igniting ongoing protests around the country about policing and racial injustice.
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