Fired Minneapolis officer leaves jail on $750,000 bail

George Floyd's brother told US Congress to 'stop the pain' and pass police reform

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A former Minneapolis officer charged with aiding and abetting the killing of George Floyd has been released from custody after he posted a bail of $750,000 (Dh2 million).

Thomas Lane is one of the four fired police officers who have been charged following the death of the black man in Minneapolis police custody.

The Minneapolis Police Department fired Mr Lane last week, along with Tou Thao, J Alexander Kueng, and Derek Chauvin, who is charged with second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in Mr Floyd’s death on May 25.

If convicted, Mr 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 tantamount a second-degree murder charge, so the three officers face the same potential penalties as Mr Chauvin if convicted.

Earlier in the day, the brother of Mr Floyd, whose killing by police sparked worldwide protests against racism, told a House committee to "stop the pain" by passing reforms to reduce police brutality.

One day after burying his brother in Houston, Philonise Floyd appeared in person before a House hearing, where he described the anguish of watching a video of George's death and urged legislators to address systemic problems in law enforcement.

"I'm here to ask you to make it stop. Stop the pain," the younger Mr Floyd said, wiping his forehead and holding back tears, as he wore an anti-virus mask printed with George's image.

"I can't tell you the kind of pain you feel when you watch your big brother, who you looked up to your whole entire life, die – die begging for his mom.

"George called for help and he was ignored. Please listen to the call I'm making to you now, to the call of our family and the calls ringing out in the streets across the world.

"Maybe by speaking with you today, I can make sure that his death will not be in vain."

In Minneapolis, where Mr Floyd was killed, police chief Medaria Arradondo announced on Wednesday that the department would withdraw from police union contract negotiations.

Mr Arradondo announced initial steps in "transformational" reforms to the agency.

His predecessor, Janee Harteau, and Minneapolis mayor Jacob Frey are among those who have complained that the police union blocks change.

Mr Frey, who praised Mr Arradondo’s announcement, said this week that the city had difficulty firing and disciplining officers because of the union.

Advisers will now look for ways to restructure the police union contract to provide more transparency and flexibility, Mr Arradondo said.

The review will look at critical incident protocols, use of force and disciplinary protocols, including grievances and arbitration, among other things.

Meanwhile, a sweeping Democratic package of legislation aimed at fighting police violence and racial injustice is being challenged by Republicans, who are working on rival legislation, due to be released on Friday.

The bill from Senate Republicans is expected to touch on many of the same areas but emphasise the collection of data rather than changes in laws and policies in key areas.

With a renewed focus on racial equality, US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi urged Congress to immediately take steps to remove from the Capitol 11 statues representing Confederate leaders and soldiers.

"Their statues pay homage to hate, not heritage. They must be removed," Ms Pelosi said in a letter to leaders of a congressional committee in charge of managing the statues.

US President Donald Trump said his administration would not rename American military bases that honour leaders of the Confederacy.

Confederate soldiers fought the Union to maintain slavery during the American Civil War in the 1860s.

Nascar announced on Thursday that it was banning the display of the Confederate flag at its events after calls for its removal from the circuit's racing venues.

The Confederate flag has been a common sight at Nascar circuits, particularly in southern states.