Former Minneapolis officer pleads guilty in Floyd’s death
Thomas Lane struck a deal with prosecutors Wednesday, agreeing to plead guilty to a state charge of aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter. In return, the state will drop a more severe charge. Lane was one of three other officers on the scene when Derek Chauvin restrained George Floyd outside a grocery store in Minneapolis on May 25, 2020, leading to Floyd’s death. Lane admitted he knew from training that Floyd should have been rolled onto his side and that kneeling on him the way Chauvin did created a risk of death. Lane agreed he should have intervened when he heard Floyd say he couldn’t breathe.
What happens next? Lane and former officers J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao have already been convicted on federal charges of willfully violating Floyd’s rights. All three are out on bond, and a state trial is scheduled for June for Kueng and Thao. Lane’s deal recommends a sentence of three years, which is below state sentencing guidelines. Prosecutors also agreed to allow him to serve that sentence concurrently with any federal prison time he might get. Lane’s lawyers said he has a newborn baby and did not want to risk a lengthy prison sentence.
Dig deeper: Read Charissa Koh’s report in Compassion about local police reform.
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