(Reuters) – One of the four former white Minneapolis police officers who were charged over the death of George Floyd, 46, a black man whose death in custody set off protests for police reform and racial justice, was released on bail on Wednesday.
FILE PHOTO: Former Minnesota police officer Thomas Lane poses in a combination of booking photographs at Hennepin County Jail in Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S. June 3, 2020. Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office/Handout via REUTERS.
Former officer Thomas Lane, 37, who had been held on $750,000 bail was freed from Hennepin County jail, sheriff’s office records showed.
He was one of the three police officers charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter in Floyd’s death on May 25.
A fourth officer, Derek Chauvin, was videotaped pressing his knee to Floyd’s neck as he gasped “I can’t breathe” and called for his mother before he died. Chauvin was charged with second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
All four officers have been fired from the Minneapolis police department.
Lane’s attorney, Earl Gray, did not immediately return telephone phone calls to Reuters on Wednesday night but Gray has told media that his client tried to help Floyd.
Gray told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune that there was an online fundraiser for Lane on social media, soliciting PayPal contributions. The site has since been taken down.
Protests flared for a 16th day on Wednesday, with many activists calling for a ban on choke holds and other methods of restraint used by police.
Police have also been criticized for heavy-handed tactics against protesters in various places. Indiscriminate use of tear gas, flash grenades, and many incidents of police hitting protesters with batons have been recorded.
Protesters in Portland, Oregon, flooded city-center streets late on Wednesday blocking traffic. Media reported a crowd of more than 1,000 calling for the resignation of the mayor.
Protesters in Portsmouth, Virginia, defaced a Confederate monument and a man was injured when the structure tumbled down, a reporter with WAVY News said on Twitter.
Chauvin remains in jail in lieu of $1.25 million bail. The other officers, Tou Thao and J. Alexander Kueng, remain in jail in lieu of $750,000 bail and charges each of aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.
In Minnesota, pleas are not entered in preliminary hearings.
Lane’s next hearing is scheduled for June 29, and his attorney is planning to file a motion to dismiss the charges, media reported.
(This story corrects amount in paragraph 12 to $750,000 from $75,000)
Reporting by Sabahatjahan Contractor in Bengaluru and Rich McKay in Atlanta; Editing by Robert Birsel