An attorney for one of the former Minneapolis police officers charged over the death of George Floyd has alleged he overdosed on fentanyl while resisting arrest.
Thomas Lane, 37, is charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and manslaughter. State prosecutors earlier this month rejected a motion filed in July to dismiss the charges against him.
But in a new filing on Monday, Lane’s attorney Earl Gray wrote that the state’s response to his motion was a “narrative fiction” and his client “did nothing wrong.”
Rather, Gray alleges that Floyd contributed to his own death by taking a lethal dose of fentanyl during his arrest.
In the court documents, obtained by Fox9, he points to a white spot that he says was seen on the left side of Floyd’s tongue in body camera footage, but disappeared seconds later. Gray suggests it is “2 milligrams of fentanyl, a lethal dose.”
He adds: “All he had to do is sit in the police car, like every other defendant who is initially arrested. While attempting to avoid his arrest, all by himself, Mr. Floyd overdosed on Fentanyl. Given his intoxication level, breathing would have been difficult at best.
“Mr. Floyd’s intentional failure to obey commands, coupled with his overdosing, contributed to his own death.”
The Hennepin County Medical Examiner listed fentanyl intoxication and recent methamphetamine use under “other significant conditions” in a summary of Floyd’s autopsy report released in June. Those factors were not listed under cause of death.
The medical examiner classified his May 25 death as a homicide, saying Floyd’s heart stopped as police restrained him and compressed his neck.
“Decedent experienced a cardiopulmonary arrest while being restrained by law enforcement officer(s),” the medical examiner’s office said.
In his earlier motion, Gray urged prosecutors to dismiss his client from the case, arguing that Lane was a rookie officer who was overridden by his superior.
Prosecutors rejected the argument, noting that Lane ignored police department policy that requires officers to stop fellow officers if they are inappropriately using force, The Associated Press reported.
Lane and another rookie officer, J. Kueng, held Floyd down as another officer, Derek Chauvin, pressed his knee to Floyd’s neck for several minutes while he repeatedly said he couldn’t breathe, prosecutors say.
Lane restrained Floyd’s legs using his hands and knees while Kueng knelt on Floyd’s back and held his arms in place, according to the prosecution. Tou Thao, another officer, kept people away at the scene. All four were fired.
Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter, while the other three are charged with aiding and abetting.
Gray has been contacted for additional comment.