Thomas Kiernan Lane, 37, is one of the most hated Americans today due to his involvement in the fatal arrest of George Floyd, a 46-year-old African-American security guard. To defend Lane, his lawyer Earl Gray, 76, is doing his best to humanize his client.
“He’s a man of compassion,” Gray said of Lane in an interview with Chris Cuomo of CNN on June 8, 2020. “He’s not a violent person.”
Memorial Day on May 25, 2020 marked Lane’s fourth day as a Minneapolis Police Department officer. In the evening of that day, he helped his training officer Derek Michael Chauvin, 44, arrest Floyd for passing counterfeit currency along with another rookie cop J Alexander Kueng, 26, and veteran cop Tou Nmn Thao, 34, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States.
It was Lane who was holding Floyd’s legs while Chauvin was kneeling on the arrestee’s neck. Kueng was holding the arrestee’s back and Thao was watching and interacting with the bystanders who were trying to intervene.
Lane, Kueng and Thao were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder while committing a felony and with aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter with culpable negligence. Gray told Cuomo that Lane did everything he thought was right on the day of Floyd’s arrest.
“He did more than that,” Gray said of Lane. “He went into the ambulance and he’s the one that was doing CPR.”
Before Lane’s arrest, one of his relatives told the Minnesota Star Tribune that they are devastated. The former cop was described as a “compassionate and amusing and insightful” person by the relative.
“Our whole family feels terrible,” the relative said. “This isn’t him. This isn’t what he worked all his life for.”
Born on March 8, 1983 in Saint Paul, Minnesota, Lane is the grandson of Donald M. Mealey, a Minneapolis police detective who died in 2008 at the age of 92. In 2016, Lane earned his bachelor’s degree in sociology of law, criminology and deviance from the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul.
The Minneapolis Police Department hired Lane as a police officer in December 2019 and fired him on May 26, 2020. Gray believes that bodycam footage will clear his client of culpability over the death of Floyd.