Thomas Lane pleads guilty in George Floyd murder trial
Guilty of abetting second-degree manslaughter in the killing of George Floyd, the former Minneapolis police officer’s plea deal results in having his initial count dismissed.
Thomas Lane pleaded guilty on Wednesday to state charge and abetting second-degree manslaughter in the killing of George Floyd. The former Minneapolis police officer’s plea deal resulted in having his initial count of aiding and abetting second-degree unintentional murder dismissed.
Lane, along with J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao, has been previously convicted on federal counts for willfully violating Floyd’s rights during his restraint leading up to his barbaric murder in May 2020.
The state is recommending Lane for a three-year sentence, a time period considerably below state sentencing guidelines. Furthermore, they have recommended he serves his sentence in federal prison. Lane is now awaiting to be sentenced in the federal case.
Under state sentencing guidelines, a person with no criminal record would face a sentence ranging from just under 3.5 years to four years and nine months in prison for second-degree unintentional manslaughter, with the presumptive sentence being four years. Lane’s recommended sentence of three years, which still must be approved by the judge, would be less. Had Lane been convicted of aiding and abetting second-degree murder, he would have faced a presumptive 12.5 years in prison.
Attorney General Keith Ellison, whose office prosecuted the case, stated that “his acknowledgment that he did something wrong is an important step toward healing the wounds of the Floyd family, our community, and the nation”.
Lane’s attorney, Earl Gray, refrained from commenting and said that lane would also have no comment. A presentence investigation was ordered without taking Lane into custody. He is to be sentenced on the state charge on September 21.
Floyd's death was filmed by a bystander and sparked months of protests in the United States against racial injustice and police brutality.
Kueng, Tou Thao, and Thomas Lane were the three other officers on the scene as Floyd was being taken into custody for allegedly using a fake $20 bill to buy a pack of cigarettes.
While Chauvin knelt on Floyd's neck, Kueng was on his back and Lane held his legs.
Thao kept bystanders, who were telling Chauvin to get off the visibly distressed Floyd, from getting any closer to the scene.
After pleading not guilty for months, Chauvin pleaded guilty in December to violating George Floyd's civil rights at the federal level. Life in prison is the maximum sentence.
The judge had delayed accepting Chauvin's plea deal until the completion of a preliminary presentence investigation report.
According to the plea deal, the federal term would run concurrently with the state-level penalty of 22.5 years for murder.
This news comes as the United States was shaken late Saturday by the news of a white, gun-toting neo-Nazi teen who wanted to reflect his supremacist ideology on the ground as a means of realizing his aspiration of eradicating those whose existence goes against his "beliefs".
18-year-old Payton Gendron carried out a mass shooting at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, claiming the lives of 10 people, while three others are being provided with medical care. Gendron shot 13 people; 11 Black people and two White people, which reflects the motive behind the attack streamed on Twitch for the whole world to see the gruesome reality of the far-right.
During Lane’s trial, Thao’s attorney, Robert Paule, attended the plea hearing and responded with “no comment” when asked if his client would also be taking on a plea deal.
Kueng and Thao are scheduled to go on state charges trial in June.