The officers, Tou Thao, Thomas Lane, and J. Alexander Kueng made their first appearances in Hennepin County District Court as friends, relatives, and celebrities gathered for George Floyd memorial service in Minneapolis.
The Minneapolis Police Department fired them last week, along with Derek Chauvin, who is charged with second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in Floyd’s May 25 death.
The white police officer was filmed in a viral video pinning down Floyd and pressing his knee into his neck, ignoring the African American man’s pleas that he can’t breathe, until he stopped moving.
Attorney Earl Gray, representing Lane argued for lower bail and told the court that Chauvin was the training officer for Lane and Kueng, who had been on the job just four and three days respectively.
“What was my client supposed to do but follow what his training officer said? Is that aiding and abetting a crime?” Gray asked.
Attorneys for Kueng and Thao did not address the merits of the charges in court and told reporters afterward that they declined to comment on the case for now out of respect for Floyd’s family on the day of his first memorial service.
Judge Paul Scoggin set their next court dates for June 29.
If convicted, Chauvin faces a maximum of 40 years in prison on the murder count and 10 years for manslaughter. Under Minnesota law, aiding and abetting second-degree murder is equivalent to a second-degree murder charge, meaning Thao, Lane, and Kueng face the same potential penalties as Chauvin if convicted.