Body-worn camera footage from former Minneapolis police officer Thomas Lane showed that George Floyd was given no explanation for why he was being questioned before Lane pointed a gun and swore at him, touched him multiple times and forced him out of his vehicle into the street.
The court made footage captured by Lane and fellow fired officer J. Alexander Kueng publicly viewable Wednesday by appointment. Sixty-six spaces were made available at one-hour increments to watch the videos that totaled about 65 minutes.
Lane and Kueng, along with onetime colleague Tou Thao, are charged with aiding and abetting murder and manslaughter in connection with Floyd’s death while he was under arrest on May 25 at E. 38th Street and S. Chicago Avenue. Another fired officer, Derek Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder, third-murder and second-degree manslaughter.
The Star Tribune viewed Lane’s and Kueng’s videos, which showed that neither officer told Floyd nor his two passengers why they were being investigated that night until several minutes after the encounter began and after Floyd had already been handcuffed.
Lane’s video showed that medics at the scene did not appear alarmed or rushed in assisting Floyd after taking his pulse, and that about three minutes passed before anyone began performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation on Floyd, who had been unresponsive for several minutes by then.
Kueng’s video showed that the body camera worn by Chauvin fell off at the scene for an unknown period of time. Prosecutors have said Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck for nearly 8 minutes, but Kueng’s video showed that it as about 9 minutes and 30 seconds.
Lane’s attorney, Earl Gray, filed the two videos in court last week along with a motion to dismiss the charges against his client. Gray has argued that Lane was a rookie working at the direction of Chauvin, a 19-year veteran.
Lane twice asked about flipping the 46-year-old Floyd from his stomach onto his side after Floyd complained multiple times that he couldn’t breathe. But Lane was rebuffed by Chauvin. Lane later got in an ambulance and performed CPR on Floyd, Gray has argued.
Lane’s bodycam video showed that as the first officer to engage with Floyd, he did not inform Floyd that he was being investigated for allegedly using a fake $20 bill at Cup Foods.
Floyd repeatedly said “please” and asked what was going on as Lane forced Floyd out of the vehicle.
“I didn’t do nothing,” Floyd said about two minutes into the video, holding his left hand visibly up in the air as he sat in the driver’s seat of a car.
“Put your [expletive] hands up right now!” Lane yelled while aiming a gun in his right hand at Floyd. “Let me see your other hand.”
Location of hands
Gray has said Floyd initially had his hands below the car seat as if reaching for something and resisted arrest. The videos, which had limited screen range, showed that Floyd was frightened, began crying about two minutes into Lane’s video and was reluctant to exit his car after Lane offered no explanation for the police investigation.
Floyd was also reluctant to enter the squad car after Kueng had informed him about the alleged fake bill, but he did not appear to push or fight back, or, attempt to flee.
According to the videos and corresponding transcripts: Lane and his partner, Kueng, were the first to arrive about 8:08 p.m. A store manager told them someone used a fake bill and directed them to a blue car parked outside.
The officers walked southbound across 38th against traffic toward a blue Mercedes SUV.
About 90 seconds into Kueng’s video, Lane was seen reaching his right hand toward a gun holstered on his right hip while he was halfway across the street and before he reached the van. Lane had a long flashlight in his left hand.
Kueng turned toward the passenger side, making it unclear when Lane, who walked toward the driver’s side, drew his weapon.
Lane tapped the driver’s side window with the flashlight.
“Let me see your hands,” Lane ordered.
Floyd’s back was turned to the window; he pivoted to look at Lane.
“Oh!” Floyd said.
About 1 minute and 38 seconds into Lane’s video, the car’s windows reflected Lane holding up his gun in his right hand, pointing it toward Floyd.
“Hey, man, I’m sorry!” Floyd said, opening the car door.
“Stay in the car,” Lane said. “Let me see your other hand.”
Floyd’s left hand was raised in the air. The video did not immediately capture his right hand.
Gray argued in his motion that Lane saw Floyd and a passenger “digging underneath the seat” and that Floyd was acting “erratically.” The videos, which had a limited view, did not appear to show such activity.
At 1 minute and 44 seconds in Lane’s video, Lane pushed the car door further open with his left hand while pointing his gun at Floyd with the other hand.
Swearing, Lane ordered Floyd to put up his hands.
“All right,” said a visibly distraught Floyd. “What I do though? What we do, Mr. Officer?”
Lane swore at Floyd twice and again ordered him to put his hands on the steering wheel. Lane used his left hand to push Floyd’s left shoulder, which had leaned slightly out.
Floyd forced from car
About 2 minutes in Lane’s video, Floyd gripped the steering wheel with both hands
“Yes sir, I’m sorry, officer,” Floyd said, later resting his forehead on top of the backs of his hands.
About 2 minutes and 23 seconds in Lane’s video, Lane reached his left hand into the car and placed it on top of Floyd’s left hand and part of his head. Lane began to reholster his gun about the same time.
About 2 minutes and 37 seconds into Lane’s video, Lane placed his left hand on Floyd’s hands and his right hand on Floyd’s back inside the car and tugged on him slightly. Floyd was in tears.
“OK, Mr. Officer, please don’t shoot me,” Floyd said. “Please, man.”
“I’m not going to shoot you,” Lane said. “Step out and face away.”
Floyd remained in the car before 13 seconds passed and Lane used both hands to grab Floyd’s left hand and right arm. Lane had still not explained the reason for his actions.
About 3 minutes and 7 seconds into Lane’s video, Lane partly pulled Floyd out of the car. Floyd was eventually removed from the vehicle, and Kueng and Lane handcuffed him about 3 minutes and 33 seconds into Lane’s video, with Lane twisting Floyd’s right arm up at a sharp angle against his back.
“I’m sorry Mr. Officer,” Floyd said around that point. “I’ll get on my knees — whatever.”
Kueng accused Floyd of resisting arrest. Floyd said he wasn’t.
“I didn’t do nothing wrong, man,” Floyd said.
“Stand up!” Kueng said.
“Please, please, man,” Floyd said.
Kueng walked Floyd away from the van while Lane spoke to Floyd’s two passengers, a man and a woman who were standing on the sidewalk, 3 minutes and 47 seconds into his video.
“What I do?” asked the woman, Shawanda Renee Hill.
“We’re figuring out what’s going on,” Lane said.
Lane asked Hill why Floyd was being “squirrelly” and whether he was drunk “on something.” She said he was afraid because Lane pointed the gun at him.
About 6 minutes into Lane’s video, Lane told Hill they were investigating an allegedly fake bill.
“We come over here, he starts grabbing for the keys and all that stuff, starts getting weird, not showing us his hands,” Lane told Hill.
About 6 minutes into Kueng’s video Kueng informed Floyd about the investigation while the two are standing away from Lane and the passengers.
“We’re here because it sounds like you gave a fake bill to the individuals in there,” Kueng said.
“Yeah,” Floyd replied.
Kueng informed him that he was pulled from the car because he “was not listening to anything we told you.”
Chauvin kneels on neck
Lane and Kueng struggled for about three minutes to get Floyd into the back of their squad as each of them stood on either side of the vehicle with the doors open.
Floyd, who told them he was claustrophobic and pleaded with them to stop, fell sideways into the car after Kueng pressed one hand on his chest and the other on his head.
Lane tried to pull Floyd in from the rear passenger side.
Floyd continued to wheeze, telling them he just had COVID and couldn’t breathe. Eventually, Floyd’s body twisted out of the passenger door and his knees slid to the pavement. Kueng pushed him forward to the ground and restrained his legs as Chauvin knelt on his neck
Chauvin and Tou Thao had arrived to assist their colleagues.
About 11 minutes into Lane’s video, Lane grabbed Floyd’s leg and helped Chauvin and Kueng flip Floyd from his back onto his stomach in the street.
The bodycam video and video recorded by a bystander showed Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck while he said he couldn’t breathe, called out for his “mama” several times and warned the officers he was going to die. Bystanders also pleaded with the officers to stop and check his pulse.
Kueng knelt on Floyd’s back while Lane knelt on and held onto his legs. Thao managed bystanders at the scene and dismissed their concerns.
Lane’s video showed that he asked twice about rolling Floyd onto his side, but did not appear to express any sense of urgency, fear or persistence in his voice.
About 16 minutes into Lane’s video Floyd stopped talking and appeared unresponsive.
His last words just seconds earlier were: “Come on, man. Oh, oh. [Indecipherable mixed chatter.] I cannot breathe. I cannot breathe. Ah! They killed me. They killed me. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. Oh! Ah! Ah! Please, please, please.”
About a minute later Hill called from off screen, “He’s about to pass out.”
“I think he’s passing out,” Lane told his colleagues.
A minute later, Kueng checked Floyd’s pulse.
“I can’t find one,” said Kueng, who appeared to stop holding onto Floyd and moved further back.
Chauvin and Lane continued restraining Floyd for about another three minutes until paramedics arrived.
About 19 minutes and 40 seconds in Lane’s video, a paramedic arrived and took Floyd’s pulse at his neck. The paramedic walked away without a sense of urgency.
Medics loaded Floyd into the ambulance. Lane boarded the ambulance as well, and took Floyd’s pulse at the neck.
About three minutes after the ambulance first arrived at the scene, a paramedic took Floyd’s pulse and instructed Lane to begin performing CPR on him in the back of the ambulance.
A medical device was placed on Floyd’s chest a few minutes later to provide mechanical chest compressions until they arrived at HCMC.
First responders and emergency room staff worked on Floyd, who was unresponsive the entire time, for about an hour. He was pronounced dead at 9:25 p.m.
Joseph Malinao, 25, drove to the courthouse Wednesday morning to watch the body camera videos. The former EMT who has local police officer friends wanted a more objective look at what transpired.
The videos were difficult to watch, he said, adding that he came away feeling that Chauvin was the only one who should face charges.
However, Malinao was struck by how quickly the situation escalated.
“It’s baffling to pull the gun that quick over a forgery charge,” he said of Lane’s initial contact with Floyd. “That set the tone for the whole interaction.”