Former Minneapolis officer Thomas Lane pleads guilty to involuntary manslaughter in the death of George Floyd

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 sentence, which he will serve in a federal institution, according to his attorney.

Lane was one of four former Minneapolis police officers involved in the fatal May 2020 arrest that ended in Floyd’s death. Derek Chauvin, the former officer who knelt on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes, was sentenced to 22 and a half years for the murder of Floyd. Lane and former officers Tou Thao and J. Alexander Kueng were pleaded guilty to deprive Floyd of his right to medical care in a federal trial earlier this year.

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

“Floyd should still be with us. But I am pleased that Thomas Lane has accepted responsibility for his role in Floyd’s death,” Ellison said. saying in a statement on Wednesday. “His acknowledgment that he did something wrong is an important step in healing the wounds of the Floyd family, our community and the nation. While accountability is not justice, this is a significant moment in this case and a necessary resolution in this case.” our continued journey toward justice.” .”

Former Minneapolis police officer Thomas Lane, center, arrives with his attorney Earl Gray for a hearing at the Hennepin County Public Safety Center 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 didn’t realize Floyd wasn’t breathing until paramedics arrived and turned him over. lane too testified that while he was trained to administer first aid, he believed Floyd still had a heartbeat and Chauvin ignored his suggestion to roll Floyd onto his side.

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

the recent police shooting of Amir Locke, 22, during an unannounced raid has placed additional scrutiny on the department, especially after officials Announced “insufficient admissible evidence” to bring charges against the officers involved.

“Today’s guilty plea by former officer Thomas Lane gives the Floyd family another step toward closure in the horrific and historic murder of George Floyd,” attorney Ben Crump, who represents the Floyd family, said in a statement on Monday. Wednesday. “While today is a step in the right direction, we only need to look at the recent 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 scheduled for June 13, where they face charges of second-degree unintentional murder and second-degree manslaughter.

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