Former Minneapolis police officer Thomas Lane was sentenced to two and 1/2 years in prison Thursday for his role in the killing of George Floyd, according to The Associated Press. Though he had a physical hand in helping Derek Chauvin suffocate Floyd, Lane’s attorneys insist he was the least culpable out of all the officers involved.
Lane along with former officers Tou Thao and Alexander Kueng were convicted by a federal jury of violating Floyd’s civil rights because they deprived him of medical care. Lane is being sentenced separately because he changed his plea to guilty to reduce his charge of aiding and abetting manslaughter, per the report.
To recap (if you’re like me and couldn’t endure to watch the entire video of George Floyd’s murder), Lane and his colleague Kueng helped Chauvin restrain Floyd. Reports say Chauvin’s partner Thao kept onlookers from getting involved despite their verbal concerns of Floyd’s safety. If these “officers” were plain citizens, all of them would be convicted of murder.
More form AP News:
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.
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.
Lane testified 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.”
So…for nearly 10 minutes of Floyd screaming out that he couldn’t breathe, Lane didn’t notice how he “desperately needed” medical attention. Every police brutality case leads me to wonder if officers believe the little oath they take.
Per their website, Minneapolis officers solemnly swear that they “in recognition of their service as a peace keeper” to first do no harm (Ha!) and that they will “upload and safeguard the sanctity of life.” Did they mean uphold? Probably. Regardless of the typo, Lane, Chauvin, Thao and Kueng did not what they promised to.
Per AP News, federal prosecutors asked the US District Judge Paul Magnuson to give him five to six years but Gray asked for just two years. Magnuson ultimately went with the latter and held up 145 letters sent to him in support of Lane.
He did tell Lane,“the fact that you did not get up and remove Mr. Chauvin when Mr. Floyd became unconscious is a violation of the law,” per AP News.
Lane’s buddies Thao and Kueng are also free on bond and turned down plea deals. Their trials have been significantly delayed but they face charges of aiding and abetting in second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Chauvin is serving his time of 22 years for the same charges.