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Former Minneapolis Cop Sentenced to Prison for His Role in George Floyd’s Death

Former Minneapolis police officer Thomas Lane appears in a Hennepin County Sheriff's Office mugshot from 2020.

Former Minneapolis police officer Thomas Lane appears in a Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office mugshot from 2020.

One of the former Minneapolis police officers involved in the fatal arrest of George Floyd, 46, in May 2020 has been sentenced to three years in state prison.

Fired cop Thomas Lane, 39, will serve this term concurrently with his 2-and-a-half year federal prison sentence at the Englewood Federal Correctional Institution in Littleton, Colorado.

Lane pleaded guilty in May to the state charge of aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter. The federal charge was for depriving Floyd’s rights under color of law.

Lane was the Minneapolis officer seen in well-known footage holding Floyd’s legs as then-officer Derek Chauvin, now 46, kneeled on the man’s neck. Jurors convicted Chauvin of second-degree unintentional murder, and Judge Peter Cahill sentenced him to 22-and-a-half years in prison.

Then-Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo testified that Chauvin did not follow policy when kneeling on Floyd’s neck. It was not an act of de-escalation, Arradonda said.

“A conscious neck restraint, by policy, mentions light to moderate pressure,” he said. “When I look at exhibit 17 [a picture of Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck], and when I look at the facial expression of Mr. Floyd, that does not appear in any way shape or form that that is light to moderate pressure.”

“This wasn’t policing,” said prosecutor Steve Schleicher in closing arguments.

Chauvin attorney Eric Nelson argued that the street of the arrest was not a factor. Floyd instead died from a combination of issues, in particular drug and heart problems. In court, he suggested Chauvin’s actions were justified and that Floyd, though handcuffed, remained a potential threat.

Jurors did not buy it. They blamed Chauvin for Floyd’s death.

That left co-defendants Lane, Tou Thao, and J. Alexander Kueng to face lesser charges. Kueng also helped restrain Floyd during the incident. He was sentenced to 36 months in federal prison for violating Floyd’s rights. In the video, Thao stood between bystanders and the other police on scene. He was sentenced to 42 months in prison for violating Floyd’s rights. They recently rejected state plea deals.

Each of the four officers were fired in the fallout of the 2020 incident.

[Image via Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office]

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