J Alexander Kueng and Thomas K. Lane, two of the former Minneapolis police officers involved in the killing of George Floyd, are casting sole blame on Derek Chauvin for the 46-year-old Black man's death on their watch. On Thursday (June 4th), all three officers charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter made their first court appearance in the case. Both Kueng and Lane's attorneys are rejecting the accusations that their client played any critical role in the killing of Floyd, who died after former officer Chauvin knelt on his neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds until he stopped breathing.

J Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao Derek Chauvin George Floyd Minneapolis police officers charges death killing murder second-degree murder manslaughter blameSergio Flores/Getty Images

“What is my client supposed to do but follow what the [senior] officer says?” Lane’s attorney, Earl Gray, argued in court. “The strength of this case, your honor, in my opinion is extremely weak.” 

J Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao Derek Chauvin George Floyd Minneapolis police officers charges death killing murder second-degree murder manslaughter blameHennepin County Sheriff’s Office via Getty Images

Video shows Lane, a rookie officer who was working his fourth day as a full-time officer on the day of Floyd's death, restraining Floyd's legs as Chauvin choked him with his knee. Keung, working his third shift ever as a full-time officer, kept a firm grip of Floyd's back as he pleaded for mercy.

“What was [Lane] supposed to do…go up to Mr. Chauvin and grab him and throw him off?” asked Gray. He argued that there was no evidence to charge his client. Kueng's attorney, Thomas Plunkett, attempted to make a similar argument. “At all times Mr. Kueng and Mr. Lane turned their attention to that 19-year veteran,” Plunkett noted. “[Kueng] was trying — they were trying to communicate that this situation needs to change direction.”

J Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao Derek Chauvin George Floyd Minneapolis police officers charges death killing murder second-degree murder manslaughter blameHennepin County Sheriff’s Office via Getty Images

According to charging documents, Lane had asked Chauvin twice if they should roll Floyd onto his side, but he was shut down. At one point, Kueng took Floyd’s pulse but "couldn’t find one,” according to the criminal complaint.

“We recognize the statements that this defendant made," said Assistant Attorney General Matthew Frank, the prosecutor on this case, regarding Lane, "but beyond that, [he] did nothing but hold the victim down [and] started CPR too late."

Chauvin is facing charges second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter charges. His bail has been set at $1 million, and he is scheduled to make his first court appearance in the case on Monday, June 8th.

[Via]