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Former police officer pleads guilty to manslaughter in George Floyd killing

Thomas Lane has already been convicted of wilfully violating Floyd’s rights during the May 2020 restraint that led to his death.

Thomas Lane.
Thomas Lane.

A FORMER MINNEAPOLIS police officer has pleaded guilty to a state charge of aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter in the killing of George Floyd.

As part of a plea deal, Thomas Lane will have a count of aiding and abetting second-degree unintentional murder dismissed.

Lane, along with J Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao, has already been convicted on federal counts of wilfully violating Floyd’s rights during the May 2020 restraint that led to his death.

The state is recommending a sentence of three years for Lane and has agreed to allow him to serve the time in a federal prison.

Their former colleague, Derek Chauvin, pleaded guilty last year to a federal charge of violating Floyd’s civil rights and faces a federal sentence ranging from 20 to 25 years.

Chauvin was earlier convicted of state charges of murder and manslaughter and sentenced to 22-and-a-half years in the state case.

Floyd, 46, died on 25 May 2020, after Chauvin pinned him to the ground with a knee on his neck, as Floyd repeatedly said he could not breathe.

Lane and Kueng helped to restrain Floyd, who was handcuffed. Lane held down Floyd’s legs and Kueng knelt on Floyd’s back. Thao kept bystanders from intervening during the nine-and-a-half-minute restraint.

Lane was convicted along with Kueng and Thao of federal charges in February, after a month-long trial that focused on the officers’ training and the culture of the police department.

All three were convicted of depriving Floyd of his right to medical care and Thao and Kueng were also convicted of failing to intervene to stop Chauvin during the killing, which was caught on video and sparked protests around the world.

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After their federal conviction, there was a question as to whether the state trial would proceed.

At an April hearing in state court, prosecutors revealed they had offered plea deals to all three men, but they were rejected.

At the time, Lane’s attorney, Earl Gray, said it was hard for the defence to negotiate when the three still did not know what their federal sentences would be.

Kueng and Thao are also scheduled to go to trial in June on state charges.

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