x

Society

Ex-Cop Lane Gets 2 1/2 Years on Floyd Killing Federal Charge

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Former Minneapolis police Officer Thomas Lane has been sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison on a federal civil rights charge for his role in the killing of George Floyd.

U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson sentenced Lane on Thursday for his February conviction of depriving Floyd of medical care as he lay dying under Officer Derek Chauvin’s knee in May 2020.

Lane, who has been free on bond, didn’t speak at the hearing. Magnuson ordered him to surrender to U.S. Marshals on Oct. 4.

The killing of Floyd, who was Black, sparked protests in Minneapolis and around the world over racial injustice in policing, and launched a national reckoning on race.

Lane, who is white, held Floyd’s legs as Chauvin pinned Floyd for nearly 9 1/2 minutes. Two other officers, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao, were also convicted of violating Floyd’s civil rights and will be sentenced later.

Federal prosecutors had asked for a sentence of up to 6 1/2 years, in line with federal guidelines. Lane’s attorney asked for a little over two years, arguing that Lane was the least culpable of the officers in part because he had asked his colleagues twice whether Floyd should be turned on his side.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below.

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Former Minneapolis police Officer Thomas Lane is hoping for a sentence Thursday that could let him go free after as little as two years in prison for his role in the killing of George Floyd.

His attorney, Earl Gray, has argued that the rookie was the least culpable of the four officers involved in Floyd’s death under Officer Derek Chauvin’s knee in May 2020, a killing that sparked protests in Minneapolis and around the world, and launched a national reckoning on race.

Lane, who is free on bond, is one of three former Minneapolis officers convicted by a federal jury in February of violating Floyd’s civil rights by depriving him of medical care. He faces a separate sentencing Sept. 21 in state court after changing his plea there to guilty to a reduced charge of aiding and abetting manslaughter.

Lane, who is white, and fellow rookie J. Alexander Kueng helped restrain Floyd while Chauvin, who is white and was the most senior officer on the scene, killed Floyd by kneeling on his neck for nearly 9 1/2 minutes despite the handcuffed Black man’s fading pleas that he couldn’t breathe. Chauvin’s partner, Tou Thao, helped hold back an increasingly concerned group of onlookers outside a Minneapolis convenience store where Floyd, who was unarmed, tried to pass a counterfeit $20 bill in May 2020.

Federal prosecutors have asked U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson to follow nonbinding federal sentencing guidelines and give him 5 1/4 to 6 1/2 years.

But Gray has asked for 2 1/4 years. Under federal probation rules, and assuming good behavior, that would result in two years in prison. That happens to be what Lane is facing under his plea agreement on the state charge, which calls for a sentence of three years but likely would amount to two under the state’s parole system.

Gray argued during the trial that Lane “did everything he could possibly do to help George Floyd.” He pointed out that Lane suggested rolling Floyd on his side so he could breathe, but was rebuffed twice by Chauvin. He also noted that Lane performed CPR to try to revive Floyd after the ambulance arrived.

“Any reasonable person should just be disgusted, should be infuriated” that Lane was ever charged, Gray told jurors in his closing argument.

Philonise Floyd, one of Floyd’s brothers, urged Magnuson on Thursday to “hand down the highest level of punishment.” He rejected the idea that Lane had tried to intervene in the restraint, saying none of the officers repositioned George Floyd or tried to administer aid.

Lane testified at trial that he didn’t realize how dire Floyd’s condition was until paramedics turned him over. Prosecutor Manda Sertich countered that his expressions of concern showed he knew Floyd was in distress but “did nothing to give Mr. Floyd the medical aid he knew Mr. Floyd so desperately needed.”

When Lane pleaded guilty in state court in May, Gray said Lane hoped to avoid a long sentence. “He has a newborn baby and did not want to risk not being part of the child’s life,” he said.

Chauvin pleaded guilty to separate federal civil rights charges in December in Floyd’s killing and in an unrelated case involving a Black teenager. That netted a 21-year sentence when he appeared before Magnuson two weeks ago, toward the low end of the range of 20 to 25 years both sides agreed to under his plea deal.

Magnuson had harsh words for Chauvin at the hearing, saying, “You absolutely destroyed the lives of three young officers by taking command of the scene.”

Chauvin was already serving a 22 1/2-year state court sentence for second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. His federal and state sentences are running concurrently. While his plea agreement meant accepting nearly three more years behind bars than his state sentence alone, he’s expected to be safer and have more freedom in the long run. Minnesota corrections officials have kept Chauvin in solitary confinement in the state’s maximum security prison for his own safety, given his notoriety. He has not yet been transferred to the federal prison system.

Magnuson has not set sentencing dates for Thao, who is Hmong American, and Kueng, who is Black. But he has scheduled a hearing for Friday on objections by their attorneys to how their sentences should be calculated under the complicated federal guidelines. Prosecutors are seeking unspecified sentences for them that would be lower than Chauvin’s but “substantially higher” than Lane’s.

Thao and Kueng are free on bond pending sentencing. They have turned down plea deals and are scheduled to go on trial Oct. 24 on state charges of aiding and abetting both second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

RELATED

FORT PIERCE, Fla.  — Lawyers for Donald Trump made a longshot argument Friday that the Justice Department prosecutor who charged the former president with hoarding classified documents at his Florida estate was illegally appointed and that the case should therefore be dismissed.

Top Stories

Columnists

A pregnant woman was driving in the HOV lane near Dallas.

General News

NEW YORK – Meropi Kyriacou, the new Principal of The Cathedral School in Manhattan, was honored as The National Herald’s Educator of the Year.

Video

Alberto, Season’s First Named Tropical Storm, Dumps Rain on Texas and Mexico, Which Reports 3 Deaths

TAMPICO, Mexico (AP) — Tropical Storm Alberto rumbled toward northeast Mexico early Thursday as the first named storm of the season, carrying heavy rains that left three people dead but also brought hope to a region suffering under a prolonged, severe drought.

LEIPZIG, Germany  — Kylian Mbappé watched from the substitutes’ bench as France and the Netherlands finished 0-0 in a heavyweight European Championship clash on Friday.

NEW YORK – Greek-American long-distance runner Alexi Pappas was featured in Vogue magazine for her latest role as an ambassador for the outdoor brand Merrell and a film project with Merrell and Vogue.

ATHENS - A total of 64 fires broke out in mixed farm and forest land in the last 24 hours, with 46 of them controlled from the very start, the Fire Brigade said in a briefing earlier on Friday.

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A serial killer who admitted he was responsible for the deaths of five Alaskans, including committing the first when he was only 14, has died in an Indiana prison, officials said.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. [email protected]

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.