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Former US police officer sentenced to 3 years for George Floyd murder

Former Minneapolis officer Thomas Lane is already serving a 2.5-year federal sentence for violating Floyd’s civil rights.

A former police officer in the United States who pleaded guilty to a state charge of second-degree manslaughter in the killing of George Floyd has been sentenced to three years in prison.

Judge Peter Cahill accepted a plea agreement for Thomas Lane on Wednesday and said he would convict Lane under the guidelines for accepting responsibility.

“I think it was a very wise decision on your part to take responsibility and move on with your life,” Cahill said, while acknowledging the Floyd family’s inability to move on with their lives.

Lane, a former police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota, is already serving a 2.5-year federal sentence for violating Floyd’s civil rights.

When it came to the state’s case, prosecutors and Lane’s attorneys had agreed on a recommended sentence of three years – which is below sentencing guidelines – and prosecutors agreed to allow him to serve that sentence concurrently with his federal sentence serve a federal prison.

Floyd died in May 2020 after officer Derek Chauvin pinned him to the ground with a knee on the 46-year-old’s neck as Floyd repeatedly said he could not breathe.

Lane held Floyd’s legs during the fatal arrest while two other officers – J Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao – knelt on Floyd’s back and stopped bystanders from intervening during the 9.5-minute restraint.

Under Minnesota rules, it is believed Lane would serve two years of his state sentence in prison and the remainder on supervised release, commonly known as probation.

The murder, captured on widely viewed video by viewers, sparked protests in Minneapolis and around the world as part of a reckoning on racial injustice.

The sentencing hearing on Wednesday took place remotely. Lane appeared via video from the Federal Correctional Institution Englewood, the low-security federal prison facility in Littleton, Colorado. Before the sentencing, he made no statement to the court. But after the hearing was adjourned, Lane complained to his attorney that the judge said he had to register as a robber “if necessary.”

“Do I need to register as a robber? What the [expletive] is that?” Lane said. And he added, “That’s what Chauvin has to do. If I have a minimal role, why that [expletive] Do i have to do that?”

Gray told him he would take care of it.

Chauvin was convicted of murder and manslaughter and received a 22.5-year state sentence in 2021. He also pleaded guilty to a federal trial of violating Floyd’s civil rights, and his state and federal sentences will be served concurrently.

Kueng and Thao were also found guilty on federal civil rights charges and sentenced to three and 3.5 years, respectively.

They have yet to report to federal prison and are due to appear in court in October on charges of assisting in murder and manslaughter.

When Lane pleaded guilty to second-degree assisted manslaughter earlier this year, he admitted he had intentionally helped restrain Floyd in a way that posed an unreasonable risk and caused his death.

As part of the plea agreement, a more serious charge of second-degree accidental murder was dismissed.

In his plea agreement, Lane admitted that he knew from his training that restraining Floyd in this manner posed a serious risk of death and that he heard Floyd say he could not breathe, knew Floyd fell silent, had no pulse and appeared had lost consciousness.

The plea agreement said Lane knew Floyd should have been rolled onto his side – and evidence showed he asked twice if that should be done – but he continued to help with restraint despite the risk. Lane agreed that the restraint was “unreasonable in the circumstances and an unlawful use of force.”

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