Former Minneapolis police officer Thomas Lane, one of the four involved in the murder of George Floyd, was sentenced in a brief virtual hearing to three years in prison for pleading guilty to aiding and abetting the manslaughter of George Floyd.
Lane, along with his then-partner J. Alexander Kueng, was the first officer to respond to 38th Street and Chicago Avenue in South Minneapolis on May 25, 2020, in response to allegations that Floyd provided a fake $20 bill to cashiers. The incident ended in former officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck for nine minutes and 29 seconds, killing him.
“It is a very wise decision to accept responsibility and move on with your life, even though the Floyd family has problems moving on with their lives, which is understandable,” said Judge Peter Cahill during sentencing.
The sentencing is a five-month departure from the presumptive sentence of 41 to 57 months, in part because his admission to helping kill Floyd, as well as video evidence played in court showing Lane attempting to save his life, influenced Judge Cahill in his sentencing.
For pleading guilty, the court dismissed the aiding and abetting murder charge. The prosecution also did not ask Lane for restitution.
Lane receives 31 days credit for time served as part of his two-and-a-half year sentence for violating Floyd’s civil rights. He is currently serving that sentence at the Federal Correctional Institution in Englewood, Colorado, a Denver-area suburb, where he will also serve his state sentence. Federal and state sentencing guidelines combined call for Lane to begin serving supervised release in late 2024.
He will also be unable to own firearms for the rest of his life and must register as a predatory offender, to which he responded shortly after the hearing ended, “I have to register as a predatory offender?! What the f*** is that?!”
“We will never move on,” the Floyd family said in a statement read aloud by attorney Matthew Frank in the virtual courtroom. The statement also mentioned being subject to a public grieving process and countless trials, hearings, guilty pleas, and sentencings. “The killing of George Perry Floyd, Jr., will forever and continue to hurt anyway.”
Meanwhile, Chauvin is serving both his federal and state sentences at Federal Correctional Institution in Tuscon, Arizona. His scheduled release date is November 18, 2038.
The two remaining officers involved in Floyd’s murder, Kueng and Tou Thao, will stand trial beginning October 24 at 9 am. Both opted not to pursue a plea agreement in August, with Thao saying it would be a “lie and a sin” to do so. Both also begin serving their federal sentences next month.
Henry Pan is a contributing writer at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.