Ex Minneapolis cop sentenced to 3 years for murdering George Floyd

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Thomas Lane, a former Minneapolis police officer who pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter in the murder of George Floyd, was sentenced Wednesday to three years in prison.

Lane held Floyd’s legs down as he yelled that he couldn’t breathe, while another former officer, Derek Chauvin, knelt on Floyd’s neck for 9 minutes on May 25, 2020. Lane pleaded guilty in May to a state charge of complicity and complicity in second-degree manslaughter. The prosecutors and Lane’s attorney had jointly recommended a three-year prison term.

The hearing was held via WebEx to accommodate Lane, who is serving a 30-month sentence at a federal Bureau of Prisons facility in Englewood, Colorado, after a jury found him guilty of a federal charge of violating Floyd’s rights. no medical care due to him after Chauvin knelt on his neck. He turned himself in to the facility sometime around Aug. 28, according to a court order made public on Tuesday. Media or other members of the public, including family members of Lane or Floyd, were not allowed to attend the hearing in person at the Hennepin County Government Center. Assistant Attorney General Matthew Frank read a statement on behalf of Floyd’s family.

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As part of Lane’s plea, a charge of complicity in second-degree murder was dismissed, said a spokesman for Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, whose office was pursuing the case.

Lane’s attorney, Earl Gray, said in May that his client has a newborn “and didn’t want to risk not being part of the child’s life” or potentially losing the murder case and facing a mandatory 12-year prison sentence. .

Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill told Lane during the hearing that it was a “wise decision” for Lane to “take responsibility” and move on with his life. Cahill said Lane’s state sentence will be equal to his federal sentence and he will serve his time in a federal institution.

Evidence showed that Lane twice asked Floyd to be turned on his side, but still helped him keep him face down on the pavement despite the risk.

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Two other former officers, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao, will face trial next month on charges of complicity in murder and second-degree manslaughter. Kueng helped restrain Floyd and Thao kept concerned bystanders at bay. They were offered the same deal as Lane, but turned it down last month.

Chauvin, the senior officer at the scene, was convicted in April 2021 of second- and third-degree murder, as well as second-degree manslaughter. He was sentenced to 22 ½ years in prison in June 2021.

Kueng and Lane helped Chauvin restrain Floyd outside a grocery store after a clerk said Floyd had used a counterfeit $20 bill to buy cigarettes. Floyd, 46, was black. Chauvin and Lane are white, Kueng is black and Thao is Hmong American. Video of Floyd’s final moments, taken by some bystanders, sparked protests around the world against police brutality and systemic racism.

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Kueng, Lane and Thao were found guilty of federal crimes in February, with Floyd being stripped of his civil rights while acting under government authority when they failed to provide him with medical attention. Kueng and Thao were also convicted of failing to intervene when Chauvin killed Floyd by pressing his knee to Floyd’s neck.

Chauvin pleaded guilty last year to a federal charge of violating Floyd’s civil rights. He was sentenced to just over 20 years in July.

“I really don’t know why you did what you did. But to put your knee on someone else’s neck until they die is just wrong, and for that behavior you should be severely punished,” said Judge Paul Magnuson of the US District Court in St. Paul said when imposing the sentence. He added that Chauvin “absolutely destroyed the lives of three other junior officers” who were involved.

This article was originally published on NBCNews.com

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