Former Minneapolis police officer Thomas Lane who pleaded guilty to a state charge of aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter in the killing of George Floyd in may 2020 was sentenced to three years, on Wednesday
Thomas Lane is currently serving a 2 1/2-year federal sentence for violating Floyd’s civil rights in a Bureau of Prisons facility in Colorado late last month.
Floyd, 46, died in May 2020 after Officer Derek Chauvin, who is white, pinned him to the ground with a knee on Floyd’s neck as the Black man repeatedly said he couldn’t breathe. Lane, who is white, held down Floyd’s legs. J. Alexander Kueng, who is Black, knelt on Floyd’s back, and Tou Thao, who is Hmong American, kept bystanders from intervening during the 9 1/2-minute restraint.
According to Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison’s office, Lane was one of three former officers to face state charges of aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter and aiding and abetting second-degree unintentional murder related to Floyd’s death. In June, Lane pleaded guilty to the manslaughter charge as part of a plea deal in which state and defense attorneys jointly recommended a sentence of three years to be served concurrently with his federal time.
A victim impact statement was read by prosecutors Wednesday on behalf of Floyd’s family. “We want everyone here today to know we will never move on,” prosecutor Matthew Frank read. “You will always show up for George Floyd, but never move on.”
Lane, a rookie officer in his fourth day on the job, held down Floyd’s legs during the arrest, while Kueng restrained his torso and Thao stood nearby and held back a crowd of upset bystanders.
An ambulance eventually arrived and first responders lifted Floyd, who was limp at that point, into the vehicle. Lane joined them in the ambulance and performed CPR on Floyd.
Defense attorney Earl Gray said Lane agreed to plead guilty to the state charge because he faced a mandatory 12-year sentence if he were to be convicted of the most serious murder charge. He also noted that Minnesota law allows defendants to be released from custody after serving two-thirds of a sentence.
In June Gray said “My client did not want to risk losing the murder case so he decided to plead guilty to manslaughter with a 3-year sentence, to be released in 2 years, and the murder case dismissed,” . “The sentence will be concurrent with his federal sentence and he will serve his time in a federal institution. He has a newborn baby and did not want to risk not being part of the child’s life.”
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