The four US police officers, Derek Chauvin, Thomas Lane, J Kueng and Tou Thao, involved in George Floyd’s death have made their first appearance in court over the case of murder and manslaughter of the Black American.
Each of them however made attempts to shift the blame of the death of the victim of police brutality on the other person, which therefore necessitated an argument from their attorneys that each person should be tried separately for the offence.
The prosecutors have however argued that all the four police officers should be charged together in the same trial because the nature of the charges and the evidence before the court are similar in the case of the four offenders.
George Floyd was a 45-year old Black American man who was a victim of police brutality when a certain police officer, Derek Chauvin pressed his knee against his neck for almost 9 minutes, while the other officers aided and abetted the act despite George Floyd’s pleas stating that he couldn’t breathe.
With the officers charged to court with varying degrees of murder and manslaughter, attorneys for Lane and Kueng argued that their clients were new officers, following Chauvin’s lead. Thao’s attorney, Bob Paule, said that his client’s role was “absolutely distinct”, because he was on crowd control, securing the scene, while the other three restrained Floyd.
Chauvin’s attorney, Eric Nelson, wrote that Lane and Kueng were the officers who responded to the initial call from a shop owner who suspected Floyd of trying to use forged money, initiated contact with Floyd before Chauvin and Thao arrived, and that Chauvin believed Floyd was overdosing on fentanyl.
Eric Nelson also wrote, “If EMS had arrived just three minutes sooner, Mr Floyd may have survived. If Kueng and Lane had chosen to de-escalate instead of struggle, Mr Floyd may have survived. If Kueng and Lane had recognized the apparent signs of an opioid overdose and rendered aid, such as administering naloxone, Mr Floyd may have survived.”