MINNEAPOLIS (Reuters) - A judge set bail of $1 million on Thursday for three former Minneapolis police officers charged with aiding and abetting in the murder of George Floyd, a black man whose killing in police custody set off widespread protests.
Bail for the three defendants, who made their first court appearance on Thursday, would be lowered to $750,000 if they agreed to certain conditions, including forfeiting any personal firearms. Judge Paul Scoggin set each man’s next court appearance for June 29.
Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao were charged on Wednesday with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter. They face up to 40 years in prison if convicted.
Derek Chauvin, the police officer who pinned his knee into Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes and is charged with second-degree murder, is due in court on Monday. All four officers have been fired from the Minneapolis police department
None of the three men who appeared in court spoke. Dressed in orange jumpsuits, they appeared separately in back-to-back hearings lasting about five minutes each. In Minnesota, pleas are not entered in preliminary hearings.
“What was my client supposed to do but to follow his training officer’s orders?” Lane’s attorney, Earl Gray, said in arguing against the bail amount. “He was doing everything he thought he was supposed to do.”
In the May 25 killing, Lane and Kueng were filmed helping keep Floyd pinned to the ground by putting their weight onto his back and knees. Thao stood watch between onlookers and the officers who were holding Floyd down.
Reporting by Brendan O'Brien; Editing by Brad Brooks and Peter Cooney