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ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A former Minneapolis police officer charged with violating George Floyd’s civil rights testified at his federal trial Monday that officers considered using a type of restraint known as the hobble because Floyd was kicking and had hurt himself, but that it seemed “excessive” because an ambulance was on the way.
Thomas Lane, 38, one of the three officers on trial, said he asked twice if Floyd should be rolled onto his side, and Officer Derek Chauvin told the officers that Floyd would stay where he was.
Lane, Tou Thao and J. Alexander Kueng are charged with violating Floyd’s constitutional rights when Chauvin pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck for 9 1/2 minutes as the 46-year-old Black man was handcuffed, facedown on the street on May 25, 2020. Lane held Floyd’s legs. Kueng knelt on Floyd’s back and Thao kept bystanders back.
All three are accused of depriving Floyd of his right to medical care. Kueng and Thao are also charged with failing to intervene to stop Chauvin in a killing that triggered protests worldwide and a re-examination of racism and policing.
Lane testified that Floyd was struggling as police tried to arrest him while responding to a complaint that he had used a counterfeit $20 bill at a corner store.
Floyd stopped resisting approx. four minutes after being on the ground, Lane says.
“I said, ‘should we roll him on his side?’” Lane says and recalls Derek Chauvin responding, “no we’re good like this.”
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He said officers considered using a hobble — a device used to restrain the legs that would have required that Floyd be put on his side so that he could breathe more easily. The hobble has straps that bind the ankles together, and can also attach to the subject’s waist.
Lane said Thao got the device, but then it was suggested that they not use it. Lane said Thao noted that if they used the device, they would have to call a supervisor to come to the scene, and an ambulance was already coming.
“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 said Floyd stopped resisting after about four minutes on the ground. He recalled asking if they should roll Floyd onto his side, and Chauvin said no. Lane said he was worried about “excited delirium,” a disputed condition that he said he understood it to be kind of an “adrenaline overdose.”
Early Monday, Lane’s brother, James, testified that his brother “has always been the peacemaker, the compassionate one.”
Prosecutors have argued that the officers violated their training by not rolling Floyd onto his side or giving him CPR, and that even bystanders could see that Floyd was in trouble. Defense attorneys have attacked the department’s training as inadequate and have highlighted a culture that they said emphasized deference to senior officers like Chauvin.
Kueng and Thao testified last week. Thao said he was relying on the other three officers to care for Floyd’s medical needs while he controlled the crowd and traffic. Kueng, who like Lane was a rookie officer, said he deferred to Chauvin.
Lane, who followed in the steps of his father, grandfather and great-grandfather when he became a Minneapolis police officer, testified that cadets were told to call officers “Sir or “Ma’am,” and stand at attention when the came in the room.
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.
Chauvin, who is white, was convicted in state court of murder and pleaded guilty in December to a federal civil rights charge.
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Source: CBS Minnesota