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Black News and Black Views with a Whole Lotta Attitude

George Floyd Case Closing Arguments Conclude; Prosecutor Says 3 Officers “Chose To Do Nothing"

The prosecution and defense attorneys provided their closing arguments to a federal jury on Tuesday.

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A general view of the memorial site known as George Floyd Square on January 20, 2022, in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
A general view of the memorial site known as George Floyd Square on January 20, 2022, in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Photo: Stephen Maturen (Getty Images)

The closing arguments in the George Floyd case regarding three former officers, Thomas Lane, 38, J. Alexander Kueng, 28, and Tou Thao, 35, were heard by a federal jury on Tuesday.

According to ABC News, U.S. Assistant Attorney Manda Sertich asked the jury to convict all three defendants– “alleging they ignored their duty to intervene” as they watched Derek Chauvin “commit a violent crime.”

From ABC News:

“No one did a thing to help,” Sertich told the jury.

“A human being, someone’s son, father, friend, significant other, George Perry Floyd Jr. died a slow and torturous death ... underneath their knees, handcuffed, unarmed, not resisting in broad daylight on a public street,” Sertich said.

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Sertich first started with Thao, noting, “Thao refused to stop Chauvin’s brutality despite witnesses, including an off-duty firefighter, yelling at him to check on Floyd’s well-being.” She also noted, “Kueng and Lane, both rookie cops at the time of Floyd’s death, and Thao failed to follow “plain, old common sense.”

When the three defendants testified, they pointed the blame towards former officer Derek Chauvin, who received a 22-year sentence after his conviction on second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter charges.

“I would trust a 19-year veteran to figure it out,” Thao testified. Lane told the jury that Chauvin “deflected” all his suggestions to help Floyd and Kueng testified that Chauvin “was my senior officer and I trusted his advice.”

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As a rebuttal, Robert Paule, Thao’s defense attorney, acknowledged George Floyd’s death was tragic, but “However, tragedy is not a crime.”

Paule argued that the actions of all three officers showed they did not willfully neglect to help Floyd. Paule said Thao was the officer who radioed for an ambulance to step up its dispatch to the scene and suggested using a hobble device to restrain Floyd.

He also said Thao believed that Floyd was suffering from excited delirium, a syndrome in which a subject displays wild agitation and violent behavior, and the best thing to do was hold him down until paramedics arrived.”

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Thomas Plunkett, Kueng’s attorney, stated the three officers were “adequately trained on the duty to intervene.” Earl Gray, Lane’s attorney, drew his ire towards the government:

“In other words, you can do an innocent act and you can end up in a courtroom like this because that’s what happened to Thomas Lane,” Gray told the jury.

Gray left the jury to ponder the question, “Why did the government indict them?”

“We all know why,” Gray said. “Politics, ladies and gentlemen.”

The jury will deliberate today after the judge gives them instructions.