Officer Lane’s attorney claims ‘a drug overdose killed George Floyd, not my client’. So what’s really going on here?

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MINNEAPOLIS, MN – George Floyd died while being taken into custody by Minneapolis Police officers in May of this year.  What is not disputed is the fact that former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on Floyd’s neck for several minutes which partially contributed to his death during that encounter. 

What is disputed, at least for now, is exactly what caused his death. 

A lawyer for one of the involved officers claim that Floyd died from a drug overdose, not because of the police.

Thomas Lane, a former rookie Minneapolis Police Officer, was charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and manslaughter.  This is predicated on the belief that Chauvin’s actions and intentions are directly what caused Floyd’s death, a notion which is being disputed by Lane’s Attorney.

Earl Gray, Lane’s attorney, said:

“[The] State’s Response is a narrative fiction, wrong on the facts, misreading the law.  Officer Lane did nothing wrong.”

Gray filed a motion on August 17th stating that Lane did nothing wrong when it came to his involvement in Floyd’s death.  Gray contends that Floyd actually died of an overdose of fentanyl, of which the autopsy revealed he had ingested almost four times the lethal amount, and not as a result of officers actions at the scene.

In Gray’s filing, which Law Enforcement Today obtained, he pointed out that Floyd had a white spot on the left side of his tongue when he was initially speaking to Lane.  Instead of complying with “Officer Lane’s reasonable instructions, [he] turns his head away.” 

Gray is suggesting here that Floyd turned his head away to ingest the drug.  Once Floyd turns back to Lane, “the white spot is gone.”  Gray says the white spot “is illustrative of what two milligrams of fentanyl, a lethal dose, looks like.” 

Gray then added:

“All he [Floyd] 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. 

“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.”

The initial findings of the medical examiners report, as listed in the probable cause affidavit, as reported in the Washington Examiner, stated that there were “no physical findings that support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxia or strangulation.”

The affidavit continued:

“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.” 

These findings were disputed by two forensic doctors who were hired by the family to conduct a second autopsy.  Doctors Michael Baden and Allecia Wilson “performed” the second procedure (if you can call watching the original autopsy a “performance”) and determined that Floyd died from asphyxia due to neck and back pressure from Chauvin, amongst other conditions.

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Despite the conflicting autopsy reports, Gray believes that Lane did nothing wrong in the encounter, and again Floyd’s death was caused by fentanyl overdose. 

For his argument, Gray states the white spot was fentanyl. He stated:

“[The] toxicology reports confirmed the presence in Mr. Floyd’s blood of Fentanyl 11ng/ml; Methamphetamine 19 ng/ml; 11-Hydroxy Delta-9 TCH (the active ingredient of marijuana/hashish).

“Hennepin County Autopsy Report at p. 1.  The NMS Lab report, attached to the autopsy, indicated that fentanyl…is ‘reported to be 80 to 200 times as potent as morphine.’  NMS Lab Report at p. 3. 

“Signs associated with ‘fentanyl toxicity’ the report notes, ‘include severe respiratory depression’ and ‘death’; that ‘fatalities from Fentanyl, blood concentrations are variable and have been reported as low as 3 ng/ml,’ almost four times less than Mr. Floyd’s ingested level.” 

In other words, Floyd, according to Gray, had far more fentanyl in his system than was necessary to kill him.

Gray also contends that Lane had a “soft approach” with Floyd after he complained that he was claustrophobic. 

Gray stated Lane told Floyd:

“I’ll stay with you.  I’ll put the windows down, I’ll put the air on.” 

Instead of calming down, Floyd fought to get out of the police vehicle which, according to Gray, caused officers to place him in a restraint on the ground.

Gray also states that the claims that Lane kept Floyd pinned to the ground was false, and points out there are plenty of times in the body worn camera which clearly show that was not the case. 

In the meantime in Minneapolis overnight, multiple stores in downtown were ransacked and looted by several groups of people after a homicide suspect took his own life on Nicollet Mall.  

According to Department of Corrections Commissioner Paul Schnell, law enforcement are working tirelessly to restore the calm in the downtown area. Social media shows various posts of people damaging items in a Target, as well as breaking windows of surrounding stores.

Earlier in the evening, Haskell’s Liquor Store, the Medical Arts building, a Nordstrom, and Saks Off 5th were also looted.  Schnell said that people were throwing bottles and setting off commercial grade fireworks as well as reports of shots being fired.

According to reports, the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office is among the law enforcement groups that are helping respond to the looting.

Hennepin County Sheriff Dave Hutchinson said in a statement:

“We’ve got cops from all over the Twin Cities coming out here to maintain order because the citizens of Minneapolis and Hennepin County deserve to feel safe. The people causing problems are going to jail tonight.”

In addition to law enforcement taking measures to restore order in downtown, Metro Transit light rail service on the Blue and Green lines have been stopped going into downtown Minneapolis. Trains and buses also will not be serving the area until further notice.

The Minneapolis State Patrol has also been deployed to help quell the rising tensions in the downtown area. Both the Governor and Mayor of Minneapolis posted comments on Twitter calling for the unrest to cease.

Mayor Jacob Frey said:

“Destruction will not be tolerated.”

Allegedly, in the aftermath of the homicide suspect taking his own life, people gathered around the crime scene and started rumors on social media that the suspect was shot by police. This is not true and to refute the rumors early on, the Minneapolis Police Department held a press conference where they shared video of the incident from a city surveillance camera.

The video shows the suspect allegedly shooting himself. Below is the graphic video:

Police were actively following the suspect because of his possible connection to a deadly shooting that happened just hours before at a parking ramp downtown. Fox News reported that Minneapolis police began investigating the deadly shooting at the Ramp A parking structure in downtown early in the day.

Police spokesman John Elder said that on Wednesday, August 26th, around 2:10 p.m., officers responded to a shooting at the parking ramp near N 10th Street and Currie Avenue. Upon arrival, they found a deceased man with an apparent gunshot wound. 

Elder said that a man and a woman left the scene just prior to the police arriving. Officers found the woman and she has been detained for questioning. Based off the preliminary investigation, officers believe that the three people got into a dispute and at one point, a person pulled out a gun and shot at the man. Elder said that the people know each other, and that this is not a random act of violence.

A curfew went into effect immediately Wednesday night. Mayor Frey said that the bolstering of law enforcement is an effort to “stay ahead of the game as much as possible.” According to reports, crowds shattered glass at various businesses downtown along and near Nicollett Mall. 

The looting spread a couple of blocks south of Nicollett Mall to a strip mall, and there were reports of smash-and-grabs spreading west to Hennepin Avenue. The State Patrol reported that as of 1 a.m. on Thursday morning, six people had been arrested for burglary, and two for violating the curfew. 

Police said that one officer was seriously injured when they were hit by an object during the unrest. The officer was taken to a nearby hospital. 

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Here is another article from Law Enforcement Today about the violence and looting in Minneapolis:

MINNEAPOLIS, MN –  More updates are coming out of Minneapolis regarding the riots that have been ongoing. We at Law Enforcement Today noted on May 28th that the National Guard was en route to the scene. 

During the evening of the 28th, 500 soldiers from the National Guard were deployed to the city, with video coming forward of members arriving in armored vehicles. 

During the third night of protests and rioting, the 3rd Police Precinct became engulfed in flames. Officers were actually forced to retreat from the police station due to concerns over the growing fire. Video has cropped up of squad vehicles pulling out of the precinct, while people begin to hurl objects toward said police vehicles. 

Among the burning police station and city that doesn’t come close to resembling what it looked like a week ago, there were also unconfirmed reports coming in related to a possible kidnapping taking place while the chaos ensued. 

Reportedly over 170 businesses have been vandalized or looted during the period of the riots. 

More and more businesses have been getting destroyed, with photos and videos now showcasing a ransacked Goodwill, a NAPA Auto Parts store set on fire, a furniture outlet getting looted, and many more examples of blatant destruction and criminal acts. 

Exactly where does this all end? If this continues, there will be nothing left of the city that many call their home. 

Can anyone explain to us how looting and burning down buildings somehow honors the memory of George Floyd?

Yeah – that’s what we thought.

While the situation was developing on the 28th, reportedly five people had already been shot in the mayhem, with one confirmed as dead, and dozens of buildings being burned and vandalized.

During the protests and riots, Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo confirmed that there was a breach of police department property by some of the crowds of people on the street.

Chief Arradondo noted that he did authorize the use of tear gas by officers in response to said breach:

“I did direct our officers to deploy gas once a secure fence was breached, and those individuals, again not all, but some of those individuals were in our secure parking facility which had access to our Minneapolis squad cars and weapons.”

While the chief noted that he respects the First Amendment that allows peaceful assembly, he said these demonstrations cannot continue to evolve into dangerous riots:

“I’m urging all those who participate in these very important gatherings to do so and to be mindful of others’ personal safety, their space, to be respectful.

We cannot have members of our community engaging in destructive or criminal types of behavior.”

Chief Arradondo also commented on the video of Floyd that has been the epicenter of the locals’ outrage. He said that from what he saw on that video doesn’t reflect the department’s “values”:

“What I observed, those actions from those former four officers in no way reflect the values, the vision and the culture that I want to change here with the Minneapolis Police Department.”

The identities of the four officers involved in the video were released by the MPD on May 27th. 

While all four have been fired at this point, there’s been an outcry to levy charges against them.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey has been vocal about this as well, asking why at least Chauvin hasn’t been arrested since he’s the one visible on the video with his knee pressed against Floyd’s neck:

“I’ve wrestled, more than anything else over the last 36 hours, with one fundamental question: Why is the man who killed George Floyd not in jail?

If you had done it or I had done it, we would be behind bars right now. I cannot come up with a good answer to that question.”

The morning of the 28th saw the aftermath of two days’ worth of protests turned into riots. The National Guard was requested to assist the 3rd Precinct police station in order to provide relief to officers, where protesters were said to have begun gathering around said precinct.

The National Guard responded to said request and noted that they were preparing to arrive on site.

Of the five people shot during the riotous nights, one man has been arrested for a fatal shooting that transpired outside of a pawnshop.

Sources say that the 59-year-old male arrested in connection with that alleged shooting was supposedly trying to stop someone from looting the Cadillac Pawn & Jewelry.

The FBI is currently assisting with the investigation into Floyd’s death, and even President Donald Trump has weighed in on the matter as well, posting the following on Twitter:

“At my request, the FBI and the Department of Justice are already well into an investigation as to the very sad and tragic death in Minnesota of George Floyd.

I have asked for this investigation to be expedited and greatly appreciate all of the work done by local law enforcement.

My heart goes out to George’s family and friends. Justice will be served!”

The ongoing riots have seen the likes of a Target store looted and torn to pieces on the inside. An AutoZone was set on fire, as well as a housing development that was under construction.

Buildings of local businesses and the ilk had windows smashed and covered in graffiti.

 The interior of a Cub Foods that was looted was showcased by a local news anchor who was invited into the establishment after the damage had been done. The scene that was displayed looked as though a tornado had ripped through the interior of the store.

More videos have been surfacing of people looting the already decimated Target store, with many shown pulling shopping carts to load up on items to steal.

What’s confusing in all this, is the level of mental gymnastics going on for people online to justify this behavior. Joshua Collins, who is running for Congress in Washington state, had this to say online about the looting: 

“As long as they continue not to care about cops murdering black people, I’m gonna continue not to care about people looting Targets & AutoZones.”

The only thing that is going to come from these riots going on is further destruction and more violence and possibly more loss of life. By destroying the literal community, therein lies the possibility that investors and businesses will either not return or be scared to ever set up shop in that city.

The quicker that this is addressed, the better for the city. The crowds have been proven to be unmanageable, and thus additional forces are in the works to restore safety and some semblance of civility.

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