Former Minneapolis Officer Thomas Lane Pleads Guilty to Manslaughter in George Floyd’s Death

A former Minneapolis police officer has pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter in the death of George Floyd. Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison announced on Wednesday. Thomas Lane will receive a three-year prison sentence, which his lawyer says will be served in a federal institution.

Lane was one of four former Minneapolis police officers involved in the fatal May 2020 arrest that ended in the death of the Floyd. Derek Chauvin, the former officer who knelt on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes, was… convicted to 22 and 1/2 years before Floyd’s murder. Lane and former officers Tou Thao and J. Alexander Kueng were: found guilty of depriving Floyd of his right to medical care in a federal lawsuit earlier this year.

If Lane had been convicted of accidental murder, he would have received the mandatory minimum sentence of 12 years in prison. According to Lane’s attorney Earl Grey, the former officer has a newborn child and did not want to risk “not being part of the child’s life.” Lane’s manslaughter will be serving concurrently with his federal sentence, and he is expected to be released within two years, Gray said.

“Floyd should still be with us. But I’m glad Thomas Lane has accepted responsibility for his role in Floyd’s death,” Ellison said. said Wednesday in a statement. “His acknowledgment that he has done wrong is an important step toward healing the wounds of the Floyd family, our community and the nation. While accountability is not justice, this is an important moment in this case and a necessary solution to our ongoing journey to justice.”

Former Minneapolis police officer Thomas Lane, center, arrives with his attorney Earl Gray for a hearing at the Hennepin County Public Security Facility on June 29, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

KEREM YUCEL/AFP via Getty Images

During his federal testimony in February, Lane said on the witness stand that he did not realize Floyd was not breathing until paramedics arrived and turned him over. Lane too testified that while he was trained to provide first aid, he believed Floyd still had a heartbeat and that his suggestion to roll Floyd on his side was ignored by Chauvin.

The news comes months after a two-year investigation by Minnesota’s Department of Human Rights found it that the Minneapolis Police Department has concerned “in a pattern or practice of discriminatory, race-based policing” over the past 10 years.

the recent police shooting of 22-year-old Amir Locke during a no-knock raid, the department has taken extra scrutiny, especially after officials announced “insufficient admissible evidence” to indict the officers involved.

“Today’s admission of guilt by former officer Thomas Lane takes the Floyd family another step toward closing the horrific and historic murder of George Floyd,” attorney Ben Crump, who represents the Floyd family, said in a statement on Wednesday. “While today is a step in the right direction, we need only look at the recent and tragic murder of Amir Locke to understand that the city of Minneapolis has a long journey ahead of it to regain the trust of its citizens. “

State trials for former officers Thao and Kueng are still set to take place on June 13, where they will be charged with second-degree unintentional murder and second-degree manslaughter.

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