Thomas Lane’s attorney files to have case dismissed saying George Floyd died of an overdose

In a new filing in the case against a now-fired Minneapolis police officer involved in the custodial death of George Floyd, the officer’s attorney alleged that Floyd overdosed on Fentanyl while resisting arrest and in doing so contributed to his own death, arguing the charges against the officer should be dismissed.

Thomas Lane is charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter in connection with Floyd’s Memorial Day death. In July, his attorney, Earl Gray, filed a motion to dismiss the charges against Lane, arguing there is not enough evidence to establish probable cause that the former rookie officer committed a crime, Fox 6 Now reported.

Moreover, in Gray’s motion filed Monday, he postulates that Floyd swallowed drugs while the officers were attempting to take him into custody, pointing to the disappearance of a white spot on Floyd’s tongue in the body camera video. He argues it looks like “2 milligrams of fentanyl, a lethal dose.”

It’s worth noting that Floyd’s blood draw at the hospital established the presence of “Fentanyl 11 ng/mL” (nanograms per mL), among other drugs. Specifically, the toxicology reports says, “Signs associated with fentanyl toxicity include severe respiratory depression, seizures, hypotension, coma and death. In fatalities from fentanyl, blood concentrations are variable and have been reported as low as 3 ng/mL,” Law Officer reported.

“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 court documents read. “Given his intoxication level, breathing would have been difficult at best. Mr. Floyd’s intentional failure to obey commands, coupled with his overdosing, contributed to his own death.”

Thomas Lane
Thomas Lane (Hennepin County Jail)

However, even with a lethal dose of Fentanyl in his system, the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s office ruled the death a homicide. The updated version of the medical examiner’s report states that on May 25, Floyd experienced a “cardiopulmonary arrest while being restrained by law enforcement officers.”

The medical examiner’s office will have some explaining to do as the case proceeds forward due to the following details:

  • Prior to issuing the autopsy report, the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s preliminarily details found that the “autopsy revealed no physical findings that support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxia or strangulation. Mr. Floyd had underlying health conditions including coronary artery disease and hypertensive heart disease. The combined effects of Mr. Floyd being restrained by the police, his underlying health conditions and any potential intoxicants in his system likely contributed to his death.” (Intoxicants later proved to be a lethal dose.)
  • The preliminary HCME findings were included in the arrest warrant for Chauvin, dated May 29. The toxicology report was dated May 31. How could a prosecutor who is seeking truth file charges prior to completion of the toxicology report when there was reason to believe the cause of death would be revealed in the findings?
  • Michael Baden never performed an actual (second) autopsy. Therefore, his opinions are greatly influenced by his payday. Moreover, he did not have access to toxicology results, tissue samples, or some organs.
  • After Baden’s announcement that the case was “a homicide due to the way he was being subdued,” the Hennepin County Medical Examiner amended his report to include the reference to “complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression.” How and why did this occur?

Floyd died on May 25 while being detained by Minneapolis police officers, including Lane, who held down Floyd’s legs while Officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck. Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in Floyd’s death while the other two officers involved, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao, are facing the same two aiding and abetting charges as Lane.

Minnesota judge
From left to right, Derek Chauvin, J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao. (Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office)

Lane’s attorney is expected to present his arguments for dismissing the charges against the former officer at the next court hearing in the case on Sept. 11.


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