Home Newsroom A lawyer for a police officer charged in George Floyd’s death says Floyd ‘killed himself’ by dying from an overdose and a heart condition

A lawyer for a police officer charged in George Floyd’s death says Floyd ‘killed himself’ by dying from an overdose and a heart condition

by Michael McDevit
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A lawyer for one of the former Minneapolis police officers charged in George Floyd’s death said he planned to argue in court that Floyd “killed himself” by dying of a fentanyl overdose and an underlying heart condition.

After a judge last month lifted a gag order on the case against the four officers, Earl Gray, an attorney for Thomas Lane, spoke with the Los Angeles Times about his defense plans.

“None of these guys — even Chauvin — actually killed him,” Gray said, referring to Derek Chauvin, the officer who knelt on Floyd’s neck for nine minutes on May 25. “He killed himself.”

Gray told the Times that he’d base his argument on toxicology and autopsy reports that determined Floyd had a heart condition and opioids in his body, as well as on body-camera footage.

He added that he hoped to show that his client and the other officers “were doing their jobs.”

In court documents obtained by the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Gray argued that Floyd had struggled with addiction and that body-camera footage at one point showed a white spot on Floyd’s tongue, which Gray suggested was “2 milligrams of fentanyl, a lethal dose.”

The Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office said it did find signs of fentanyl intoxication during Floyd’s autopsy, but it wasn’t listed as a cause of death. The medical examiner ruled Floyd’s death a homicide, saying his heart stopped when the officers restrained him and put pressure on his neck.

Ex-officer told George Floyd investigators that he was just a ...

Lane, Tou Thao, and J. Alexander Kueng have been charged with aiding and abetting murder and manslaughter. Chauvin has been charged with murder.

Floyd’s aunt, Angela Harrelson, and uncle, Selwyn Jones, told the Star Tribune that they were disappointed by Gray’s court filing, saying Floyd’s history of addiction had nothing to do with his death.

“It’s a sign of desperation,” Jones said. “I want to know: When did police officers get their law degrees, when did they get voted into being judges, and when does four people do the job of … [a] jury?”

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