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Defense attorney for one of the 3 former Minneapolis officers charged in George Floyd's death said Chauvin called 'all of the shots' in the fatal police encounter

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police officers george floyd
Former Minneapolis police officers (from L to R) J. Alexander Kueng, Tou Thao, and Thomas Lane.Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office via Getty Images
  • A defense attorney for an officer charged in George Floyd's death said Derek Chauvin called "all of the shots."

  • Three ex-MN officers are standing trial on civil rights charges of depriving Floyd of his constitutional rights.

  • Former Minneapolis officer Chauvin was convicted of Floyd's murder in June 2021.

A defense attorney during the trial of the former Minneapolis police officers charged in connection to George Floyd's death said convicted fellow former officer Derek Chauvin called "all of the shots" in Floyd's arrest, the Associated Press reported.

Three former officers Thomas Lane, Tou Thao, and J. Alexander Kueng face civil rights charges of depriving Floyd of his constitutional rights during the fatal police encounter on May 25, 2020. The trial began on Monday, January 24.

Thao and Kueng are also being charged with failing to intervene in the use of unreasonable force.

The three officers pleaded not guilty.

During opening statements, prosecutor Samantha Trepel accused the three men of standing by as Chauvin "slowly killed George Floyd right in front of them."

"They chose not to protect George Floyd, the man they had handcuffed and placed in their custody," Trepel continued.

A defense attorney representing Kueng claimed Chauvin called "all of the shots" during the arrest, as he was the senior officer at the scene, adding that Chauvin served as his client's field training officer and had "considerable sway" over his future.

"You'll see and hear officer Chauvin call all of the shots," attorney Tom Plunkett said, also saying there was a lack of training at the Minneapolis Police Department, specifically on the intervention against unreasonable use of force.

A representative for the Minneapolis Police Department did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

In May 2020, Floyd died after Chauvin knelt on Floyd's neck for 9-and-a-half minutes while he was handcuffed. Kueng, who is Black, was seen pressing on Floyd's back, and Thao, who is Hmong American, supervised the crowd, according to the AP report.

Video footage showed Lane, who is white, holding Floyd's feet, and at times he was holding one of Floyd's calves. In some instances, Lane's hands were not on Floyd at all and he appeared to be just nearby him, the AP reported.

In June of last year, Chauvin was found guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and manslaughter in the murder of Floyd. He was sentenced to 22-and-a-half years in prison. Chauvin also faces additional charges related to violating Floyd's constitutional rights during the fatal encounter. He also pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Trepel said videos show Thao standing next to Chauvin and taunting Floyd for using drugs, telling bystanders "this is why you don't" use drugs. She added that Kueng "never once" told Chauvin to get off Floyd. Kueng's attorney said his client was the one who told Chauvin he could not detect a pulse in Floyd.

Attorney Earl Gray, who is representing Lane, said his client suggested using a hobble restraint to allow Floyd to be on his side, but claimed Chauvin refused, the AP reported. Gray added that Lane called an ambulance for a cut on Floyd's lip and gave the instruction to elevate the urgency of the call as the incident escalated.

The attorney went on to say Lane also got in the ambulance with Floyd and performed chest compressions on Floyd, according to the AP.

"Mr. Lane, from the beginning of the time that he came into contact with George Floyd until the time he walked out of that ambulance, he was totally concerned and did everything he could possibly do to help George Floyd," Gray said.

Lane, Thao, and Kueng also head to trial in June for state charges related to Floyd's killing, including aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter. The three have pleaded not guilty.

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