A former Minneapolis police officer who pleaded guilty to state charges of aiding and abetting second-degree murder in the killing of George Floyd was sentenced Wednesday to three years in prison. Thomas Lane alreadyfor violating Floyd’s civil rights.
When it came to the state’s case, prosecutors and Lane’s attorneys agreed to a proposed three-year sentence — below sentencing guidelines — and prosecutors agreed to allow him to serve that sentence at the same time as his federal sentence, plus a federal prison term.
Judge Peter Cahill accepted the plea deal, saying he would sentence Lane below the guidelines because he admitted responsibility.
“I think it was a very wise decision for you to take responsibility and move on with your life,” Cahill said, acknowledging the Floyd family couldn’t move on with them.
Under Minnesota rules, Lane is expected to serve two years of his state sentence in prison and the remainder on supervised release, commonly known as parole.
Floyd, 46, died in May 2020, who kneeled on Floyd’s neck, pinning him to the ground as the black man repeatedly said he couldn’t breathe. Lane, who is white, grabbed Floyd’s leg. J. Alexander Kueng, who is black, knelt on Floyd’s back, and Tou Thao, who is Hmong American, kept spectators from interfering during the 9 1/2-minute restraint.
The killing, captured on widely viewed viewer video, sparked protests in Minneapolis and around the world as part of a reckoning with racial injustice.
Wednesday’s sentencing hearing was held remotely. Lane appeared via video from the low-security federal prison camp in Littleton, Colorado, at the Federal Correctional Institution Englewood. The entire sentence took about eight minutes, CBS Minnesota reported.
He did not address the court before the sentence was announced. But after the hearing was adjourned, Lane complained to his attorney that the judge said he would have to register as a predatory offender “if necessary.”
“I have to register as a violent felon? What’s that (criminal)?” Dr. Lane. And he added: “That’s what Chauvin has to do. If I have a minimal role, why do I have to do it?”
Gray told him he would look into it.
Chauvin was convicted of manslaughter and manslaughter and sentenced to 22 1/2 years in state in 2021. He pleaded guilty to federal counts of violating Floyd’s civil rights and is serving his state and federal sentences concurrently.
Kueng and Thao were also convicted on federal civil rights charges and sentenced to three and 3 1/2 years in prison, respectively. They have not yet reported to federal prison, and are scheduled to go to trial in October on state charges of aiding and abetting both murder and manslaughter.
When Lane pleaded guilty earlier this year to aiding and abetting second-degree murder, he admitted that he intentionally helped restrain Floyd in a manner that created an unreasonable risk and caused his death. As part of the plea agreement, a more serious count of aiding and abetting second-degree involuntary manslaughter was dismissed.
In his plea agreement, Lane admitted that he knew from his training that restraining Floyd in this way posed a risk of death and that he heard Floyd say that he could not breathe, knew that Floyd was silent, had no pulse and seemed to lose consciousness.
The plea agreement said Lane knew Floyd should have been moved toward him — and evidence showed he asked twice if it should be done — but he continued to assist in restraints despite the risk. Lane agreed that the restraint was “unreasonable in the circumstances and constituted an unlawful use of force”.