Former US police officer gets 3 years in George Floyd killing

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Former Minneapolis officer Thomas Lane is already serving a 2.5-year federal sentence for Floyd’s civil rights violations.

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A former police officer in the United States who pleaded guilty to a state charge of aiding in the murder of George Floyd and second-degree manslaughter has been sentenced to three years in prison.


Judge Peter Cahill on Wednesday accepted a plea agreement for Thomas Lane, saying he would sentence Lane under the guidelines because he accepted responsibility.

“I think it was a very wise decision for you to accept the responsibility and move on with your life,” Cahill said, admitting that the Floyd family has not been able to move forward with them.

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Lane, a former police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota, is already serving a 2.5-year federal sentence for violating Floyd’s civil rights.

When it came to the state’s case, prosecutors and Lane’s attorneys had agreed on a recommended sentence of three years—which is well below sentencing guidelines—and prosecutors ordered her to serve that sentence at the same time as her federal sentence. As agreed to be allowed, and in a federal prison.

Lane pleads guilty to state charges of aiding in the murder of George Floyd and second-degree murder [File: Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office via AP Photo]

Floyd died in May 2020 after Officer Derek Chauvin slammed him to the ground with a knee on the 46-year-old’s neck as Floyd repeatedly said he could not breathe.

Lane held Floyd’s legs during the fatal arrest, while two other officers – Jay Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao – knelt on Floyd’s back and prevented onlookers from interfering, respectively, during their 9.5-minute restraints.

Under Minnesota rules, it is assumed that Lane will serve two years of his state sentence in prison, and the rest on supervised release, commonly known as parole.

The murder, captured on widely viewed video, as part of a reckoning on racial injustice triggered protests in Minneapolis and around the world.

Wednesday’s sentencing hearing was held remotely. Lane appeared via video from the Federal Correctional Institution Englewood, a low-security federal prison camp in Littleton, Colorado. He did not make any statement in the court before the sentencing. But after the hearing was adjourned, Lane complained to her attorney that the judge had said she would have to register as a hunter-gatherer “if necessary.”

“I need to register as a hunter-gatherer? What [expletive] Is that?” said Lane. And he continued, “That’s what Chauvin has to do. If my role is minimal, why [expletive] Do I have to do that?”

Gray told him that he would look into it.

Chauvin was convicted of manslaughter and manslaughter and was given a state sentence of 22.5 years in 2021. He also pleaded guilty to one federal count of violating Floyd’s civil rights, and his state and federal sentences were being served at the same time.

Kueng and Thao were also convicted on federal civil rights charges and sentenced to three and 3.5 years in prison, respectively.

He has yet to report to federal prison, and is scheduled to stand trial in October on state charges of aiding and abetting both murder and manslaughter.

When Lane pleaded guilty to abetting and abetting second-degree murder earlier this year, he admitted that he intentionally helped stop Floyd in a way that created an unreasonable risk and led to his death .

As part of the plea agreement, a more serious count of aiding and abetting second degree unintentional murder was ruled out.

In his plea agreement, Lane acknowledged that he knew from his training that restraining Floyd in this way posed a serious risk of death, and that he heard Floyd say he could not breathe, knew that Floyd was silent, had no pulse and appears to have lost consciousness.

The plea agreement states that Lane knew Floyd should have been rolled over in his favor – and evidence showed he asked twice whether that should be done – but he continued to aid in restraint despite the risk . Lane agreed that the restraint was “unreasonable under the circumstances and constituted an unlawful use of force”.

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