Attorney for Ex-Police Officer Says George Floyd 'Killed Himself,' Blames 'COVID,' Fentanyl as Factors

The attorney for one of the four ex-Minneapolis police officers charged in George Floyd's May 25 death said the victim "killed himself," pointing to body camera footage from the arrest as well as toxicology reports that he said show Floyd had three times the amount of fentanyl in his system.

Attorney Earl Gray, who is representing ex-officer Thomas Lane, said much of his client's defense — and that of the other three officers charged in Floyd's death — comes down to Floyd having "killed himself." Gray said several medical experts have informed Lane's defense team that Floyd having COVID-19 was also a likely contributing factor to his death during the time of his arrest.

After telling The Los Angeles Times recently that Floyd died of a drug overdose due to a heart condition, Gray said on CNN Saturday that Officer Derek Chauvin's knee on Floyd's neck did not cause his death — a claim disputed by two autopsies that determined Floyd's death was a homicide.

Instead, Gray argued, toxicology reports show there's "all kinds of reasons" for Floyd to have died during the arrest, particularly drug usage paired with underlying health conditions.

"Would George Floyd have died that day without Officer Chauvin's knee on his neck?" CNN host Michael Smerconish asked Gray Saturday.

"Yes, we believe he would have died in any event," replied Gray. "And that's based on the fentanyl in his system and also the body camera close-up pictures of his conduct when my client approached his vehicle."

"The restraint did not kill him. We have had many pathologists, medical examiner's around the world email us and tell us what they believe the cause of death would be ranging from the COVID he had just gotten over, to the drug amount in his system, to excited delirium — all kinds of reasons for him to have died."

Gray's client Lane and two other officers — J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao — are charged as accomplices in the alleged murder of Floyd. A fourth officer, Derek Chauvin, is charged with murder. Attorneys for Thao and Lane have previously asked for their cases to be dismissed.

Newsweek reached out to Gray's offices for additional remarks about his client's defense Saturday morning.

Part of the defense, Gray told The Los Angeles Times, is presenting a photograph from Minneapolis police training that shows a similar method of restraint and arrest that was used on Floyd. "Sudden cardiac arrest typically occurs immediately following a violent struggle," the instructions warned.

"The key here is the amount of fentanyl in his system which was 11 nanograms, which is three times the amount an ordinary person would have to die. Three nanograms would kill you. He had 11," Gray said, noting that several body camera angles show Floyd had a "white substance" on the back of his tongue during the time of arrest.

Gray repeatedly said he's requesting a change of venue for the trial because local officials are concerned there could be riots and protests depending on the outcome of the case. He also said it's very unlikely Lane can get a "fair trial" in Minneapolis due to its high-profile nature. Gray criticized public officials and Democratic National Convention attendees — many of whom are lawyers — for saying "George King" was "murdered." (Gray incorrectly said Floyd's name at least once on the program.)

"None of these guys — even Chauvin — actually killed him," Gray told The Los Angeles Times. "He killed himself. We are going to show that my client and the other cops were doing their jobs."

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The attorney for one of the ex-Minneapolis Police Officer's charged in George Floyd's May 25 death said the victim "killed himself," pointing to body camera footage from the arrest as well as toxicology reports which he said show Floyd had three times the amount of fentanyl in his system. Screenshot: CNN | Twitter
Attorney for Ex-Police Officer Says George Floyd 'Killed Himself,' Blames 'COVID,' Fentanyl as Factors | News