One of the four white former Minneapolis police officers who were charged over the death of George Floyd, a black man whose death has triggered protests for police reform and racial justice, has been released on bail.
Thomas Lane, 37, had been held on $750,000 (£590,000) bail but was freed from Hennepin County Jail on Wednesday, sheriff’s office records showed.
He was one of three officers charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter in Mr Floyd‘s death on 25 May.
A fourth officer, Derek Chauvin, was videotaped pressing his knee to Mr Floyd’s neck as he gasped “I can’t breathe” and called for his mother before he died.
Chauvin was charged with second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
All four officers have been fired from the Minneapolis police department.
Lane’s lawyer Earl Gray has told media that his client tried to help Mr Floyd, including trying to resuscitate him in the ambulance.
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Mr Gray also told the media that Lane was only on his fourth day on the job on patrol duty and that Chauvin was his training officer, whom he should obey.
“What was my client supposed to do but follow what his training officer said?” Mr Gray said in a court hearing, Forbes and other media reported.
Mr Gray is reported to have told the Star-Tribune, a Minneapolis newspaper, that a crowdfunding site had been created for donations to Lane’s bail fund. However, this has now been taken down.
Many of those joining the more than two weeks of protests have been calling for a ban on choke holds and other methods of restraint used by police.
Police have also been criticised for heavy-handed tactics against protesters. Indiscriminate use of tear
gas, flash grenades, and many incidents of police hitting protesters with batons have been recorded.
Chauvin remains in jail in lieu of $1.25m bail. The other officers, Tou Thao and J Alexander Kueng, remain in jail
in lieu of $750,000 bail and charges each of aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.
In Minnesota, pleas are not entered in preliminary hearings.
Lane’s next hearing is scheduled for 29 June, and Mr Gray is planning to file a motion to dismiss the charges, it has been reported.
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