Thomas Lane, the former Minneapolis officer involved in George Floyd’s murder, had been sentenced to federal prison for second-degree manslaughter. Now Lane’s been sentenced to another three years on state charge of aiding and abetting, according to NBC News. However, he gets to serve both at the same time.
Reports say (and evidently by the video of the incident) Lane held down Floyd’s legs, helping Derek Chauvin restrain him as he knelt on Floyd’s neck for 9 ½ minutes in May 2020. Chauvin was sentenced to 22 ½ years for second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
Though Lane got a slap on the wrist for his role in the killing, it is according to Minnesota’s law that aiding an offender calls for no more than three years of prison time. Lane’s attorney and the prosecution both agreed on the three-year maximum. Isn’t it interesting how state laws differ? Some states, Georgia for example, would have given Lane the same punishment as Chauvin for aiding and abetting a murder.
Certainly, the flaw is that some innocent people get caught up in the crime when the law is applied broadly like that. But Lane? Holding someone down while watching them die doesn’t seem like “doing what they can” to save their life.
Read more about Lane’s case from NBC News:
As part of Lane’s plea deal, a charge of aiding and abetting second-degree murder was dismissed, a spokesman for Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, whose office prosecuted the case, previously said.
Lane’s attorney, Earl Gray, said in May that his client has a newborn baby “and did not want to risk not being part of the child’s life” or possibly losing the murder case and facing a mandatory sentence of 12 years.
Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill told Lane during the hearing that it was a “wise decision” for Lane to “accept responsibility” and move on with his life. Cahill said Lane’s state sentence will be concurrent with his federal sentence and that he will serve his time in a federal institution.
Lane’s colleagues, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao are scheduled to stand trial for second-degree aiding and abetting and second-degree manslaughter, per NBC. The two were previously convicted on federal charges for violating Floyd’s civil rights.