The officer who pressed his knee against Floyd’s neck dismissed his pleas that George Floyd could not breathe more than 20 times in the moments before he died. According to transcripts of body camera video recordings made public on Wednesday, the officer was saying, “it takes a heck of a lot of oxygen to talk.” The transcripts for the body camera videos of officers Thomas Lane and J. Kueng gives a detailed account of what happened as police were taking Floyd into custody on May 25.
According to a transcript of Lane’s body camera video, Floyd stated, “You’re going to kill me, man.” Derek Chauvin, the white officer who held his knee to Floyd’s neck for nearly eight minutes, even after Floyd stopped moving, said, “Then stop talking, stop yelling. It takes a heck of a lot of oxygen to talk.” “They’ll kill me. They’ll kill me. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe,” Floyd said.
Eric Nelson, Chauvin’s attorney, had no immediate comment as the transcripts were made public on Wednesday as part of Lane’s request to have the case against him dismissed. Earl Gray, Lane’s attorney, said that based on all of the evidence and the law in a memorandum, there is no probable cause to charge his client. Gray indicated that Lane had asked twice if officers should roll Floyd on his side, once Floyd was on the ground, and Chauvin said no.
Gray also submitted the body camera footage showing Floyd looking co-operative at times but becoming restless as he begged not to be put in a squad car, repeatedly saying he was claustrophobic. “Oh man, God don’t leave me man, please man, please man,” he begged, later adding: “I’ll do anything y’ll tell me to, man. … I’m just claustrophobic, that’s it.” According to Gray, Floyd started to thrash back and forth and was “hitting his face on the glass in the squad and began to bleed from his mouth. Officers brought Floyd to the ground and, “the plan was to restrain him so he couldn’t move and hurt himself anymore.”
Although the four officers were fired, Chauvin will be charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and manslaughter while Lane, Kueng and Tou Thao will be charged with aiding and abetting both second-degree murder and manslaughter. Lane was holding Floyd’s legs at the time, Thao was watching nearby bystanders, and Kueng was at Floyd’s midsection. Gray also surrendered a transcript of Lane’s interview with state investigators and police department training materials on restraint holds, as part of his court filing. Gray wrote it is not “fair or reasonable” for Lane to be prosecuted.
Gray also indicated that his client’s body camera video shows the encounter with Floyd from the time Lane got on the scene to the point where Floyd was put into an ambulance. According to the transcript, Lane went in the ambulance and helped with CPR. Lane told investigators he drew his gun at first because Floyd was reaching for something after repeatedly telling Floyd to show his hands, but holstered it once Floyd showed his hands. Gray said Floyd had foam at his mouth and was acting erratically. Floyd said he was scared and had been playing basketball after he was asked about the foam and whether he was on something.
Floyd said: “I can’t breathe” and “I want to lay on the ground,” the transcripts say as officers struggled to get Floyd into the squad car. Lane told the other officers once Floyd was on the ground “he’s got to be on something.” Chauvin said no to the request from Lane to roll Floyd onto his side. Gray wrote that Lane had no basis to believe Chauvin was wrong in making that decision. Kueng said, “I can’t find one,” after Bystanders told officers repeatedly to check Floyd’s pulse.
“Huh?” Chauvin said, according to the transcript of Keung’s body camera video. Lane told state investigators that Chauvin was not Lane’s field training officer. One investigator stated that it seemed like Lane’s gut was indicating to him something wasn’t right with the way Floyd was being restrained. This is according to a transcript of that interview.
Lane said, “Yeah. I would say felt like it maybe could have been handled differently or we should be reassessing what we’re doing, I think is what I was kind of coming to.” Gray argued that prosecutors must show Lane played a knowing role in committing a crime to charge Lane with aiding and abetting murder. Gray wrote, “The decision to restrain Floyd was reasonably justified. Based on Floyd’s actions up to this point, the officers had no idea what he would do next — hurt himself, hurt the officers, flee, or anything else, but he was not co-operating.”