MINNEAPOLIS– A former Minneapolis police officer who pleaded guilty to a state charge of aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter in the murder of George Floyd is expected to be sentenced on Wednesday.
Thomas Lane is already serving a 2.5-year federal sentence for violating Floyd’s civil rights. As for the state case, Lane’s prosecutors and attorneys agreed to a recommended sentence of three years, and prosecutors agreed to allow him to serve that sentence concurrently with his federal sentence and in a federal prison.
Lane is expected to get a state sentence to coincide with his federal time. Wednesday’s sentencing hearing will be held remotely and Lane will appear via video from Englewood Federal Correctional Institution, the low-security federal prison camp in Littleton, Colorado.
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 would not 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, stopped bystanders from intervening during the 9½-minute detention.
The murder, captured on widely viewed bystander video, sparked protests in Minneapolis and around the world amid a judgment on racial injustice.
Chauvin was convicted of murder and manslaughter and received a 22½-year state sentence in 2021. He also pleaded guilty to one federal count of violating Floyd’s civil rights , and his state and federal sentences are being served concurrently.
Kueng and Thao were also found guilty of federal civil rights and were sentenced to three and three and a half years, respectively. They have yet to report to federal prison and are expected to stand trial for aiding and abetting both murder and manslaughter in October.
When Lane pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter earlier this year, he admitted he intentionally helped restrain Floyd in a way that created an unreasonable risk and caused his death. As part of the plea deal, a more serious count of accessory to second-degree manslaughter was dismissed.
In his plea agreement, Lane admitted that he knew from his training that restraining Floyd in this manner created a serious risk of death, and that he heard Floyd say he could not breathe, knew that Floyd was silent. , had no pulse and appeared to have passed out.
The plea agreement says Lane knew Floyd should have been rolled onto his side – and evidence shows he asked twice if it should be done – but he continued to help with the restraint despite the risk. Lane acknowledged that the restraint was “unreasonable in the circumstances and constituted an unlawful use of force.”
Lane did not speak during his federal sentencing and it was unclear whether he would speak on Wednesday, although he was permitted to make a statement.
Find full AP coverage of the murder of George Floyd at: https://apnews.com/hub/death-of-george-floyd