One of the four Minneapolis police officers charged in George Floyd’s death admitted he did not inspect or collect the alleged counterfeit bill he was accused of using before arresting him, newly-released audio reveals.
Thomas Lane’s interviews with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) following Floyd’s killing on May 25, were publicly released this week.
Lane is one of the three officers charged with aiding and abetting murder for holding down Floyd’s legs during his fatal arrest.
Floyd lost consciousness and died after a fourth officer, Derek Chauvin, knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes while he complained that he couldn’t breathe. Chauvin has been charged with murder.
Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, had been detained by cops after he was suspected of trying to pay with a fake $20 bill at a local deli.
During a 97-minute interview with investigators, Lane gave a detailed account of the events leading up to Floyd’s arrest and subsequent death, six days after he was fired.
He revealed Floyd had panicked when cops drew their guns and pointed them at him because he told them he had been shot before.
Lane, a rookie cop, also said he did not inspect the fake money Floyd was accused of using and claimed it was Chauvin’s idea to keep the man pinned to the ground.
Lane, who was one of the two responding officers first on the scene, walked investigators through the moment he arrived at Cup Foods deli after police received a call about a forgery in progress.
Upon arriving, Lane said the store employee walked over with the alleged fake bill and pointed at Floyd and said: ‘That’s the guy over there. Go get him before he drives away.’
Investigators then asked Lane if he looked at the bill, to which he replied: ‘No.’
‘Did you ever collect it later or anything like that?’ the investigator asked.
‘I think it was. I’m not sure,’ Lane replied.
‘But, you didn’t do that and you haven’t seen it?’ the interviewer asked, to which Lane again replied, ‘No.’
Lane explained they had been ‘more concerned with at least detaining that person on the suspicion of passing counterfeit bill and then figuring out the validity of the bill.’
He also admitted the deli employee never explained to him why he believed the money wasn’t real.
In a court filing last month, Lane’s attorney submitted photos of inside Floyd’s car which include images of what he calls to ‘crumpled’ fake $20 bills and two $1 bills.’
It is unclear who collected the money at the scene and whether the ones found in Floyd’s car were the same bills he tried to pass at the store.
After he located Floyd in his car outside, Lane said he grew suspicious after it appeared he was trying to hide something underneath the driver’s seat.
Fearing the suspect was armed, he drew his gun and ordered Floyd to show him his hands and place them on the steering wheel. Two other passengers, including one female, were also in the vehicle at the time.
Floyd then allegedly tried to step out of the car, but was instructed to stay inside.
‘At that point, I was basically saying, “I’m going to get you out of the car, put your hands on top of your head.”
‘l think he was saying, “I got shot like this before” or something, and, “I’m not the guy,”‘ Lane told investigators.
‘The female said something about he’d been shot like that before, that’s why he was freaking out, because we pulled the gun on him.
‘And I said, well, if he has his hand down there, if I’m telling you to see your hand, let me see your hands. You don’t keep your hand hidden for any reason,’ Lane said.
Lane and officer J Alexander Kueng eventually handcuffed Floyd, before instructing him to sit on the ground, as is seen in the video footage of the arrest.
The cops later took him into the squad car, where Floyd became non-compliant and refused to get into the vehicle.
When asked why officers couldn’t conduct their interview with Floyd while he was handcuffed on the ground and compliant, Lane replied: ‘It could, but he was just, kind of acting erratically.’
Lane said he had suspected Floyd had been under the influence of drugs and feared he would do something to harm officers or himself if he experienced ‘excited delirium’.
He claimed he suggested rolling Floyd onto his side after Officer Chauvin struggled to keep him on his stomach on the ground.
‘Once [Floyd] kind of stopped fighting us, I think I had said again: “I think we should roll him onto his side,” and I believe Chauvin said, “We have him, there’s an ambulance coming and we got him. We’re just going to hold him here”,’ Lane said.
‘And that made sense to me just because I’ve had experiences with people who are OD’ing or they’ll be out one minute and they’ll come back and really be aggressive with you.’
Lane did not speak about Chauvin keeping his knee pressed onto Floyd’s neck, but said he began to think ‘something was going on’ after Floyd looked like he had passed out.
He told investigators he couldn’t feel a pulse on Floyd after paramedics arrived at the scene.
The recorded interviews were released as Lane’s attorney’s filed a motion to have the case against him dismissed.
In a memorandum filed in court on Monday, attorney Earl Gray claimed that Floyd swallowed a ‘lethal dose’ of fentanyl as he was resisting arrest.
The attorney pointed to bodycam footage of the arrest in which he claims Floyd had a ‘white spot on the left side’ of his tongue when Lane and another officer first approached him following reports he had used a fake $20 bill to buy cigarettes at a convenience store.
Gray has claimed in the memo that Floyd intentionally ingested ‘2 milligrams of fentanyl, a lethal dose’ after Lane ordered him to put his hands up to be taken into custody.
‘All he had to do is sit in the police car, like every other defendant who is initially arrested. While attempting to avoid his arrest, all by himself, Mr Floyd overdosed on Fentanyl,’ the filing says.
All four officers were fired the day after Floyd’s death.
Lane’s attorney is expected to argue a case for dismissing the charges against the fired officer during a court hearing scheduled for September 11.
It comes after a Minnesota judge ruled Lane’s bodycam footage could be released publicly after DailyMail.com revealed leaked footage.
The judge had previously restricted the viewing of Lane and Kueng’s bodycam footage – allowing it to be viewed only by appointment in the county courthouse.