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Ex-Minneapolis Cop Thomas Lane Sentenced To 2 1/2 Years For Violating George Floyd’s Civil Rights

St. Paul, MN – Former Minneapolis Police Officer Thomas Lane was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison on Thursday for violating George Floyd’s civil rights.

Lane was found guilty by a jury in federal court in February, along with former Minneapolis Police Officers J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao.

The jury convicted Lane on one count for depriving Floyd of medical care, according to CBS News.

Thao, a nine-year veteran of the police force when the incident occurred, was convicted of two counts of deprivation of rights under color of law for failing to intervene and depriving Floyd of medical care.

Kueng was also convicted of two counts of deprivation of rights under color of law for failing to intervene and depriving Floyd of medical care, CBS News reported.

Lane, who twice asked former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin if officer should turn Floyd on his side while they were arresting him was not charged with failing to intervene, CBS News reported.

Prosecutors asked in June that Lane be sentenced to five-to-six years, citing federal sentencing guidelines.

His attorney, Earl Gray, asked that the former rookie cop be given 27 months, CBS News reported.

Lane pleaded guilty in Hennepin County court in May to a state charge of aiding and abetting manslaughter.

He has not yet been sentenced on the state charge.

Two of the officers – Lane and Keung – charged in connection with Floyd’s death were rookies under the tutelage of Chauvin, who was Keung’s field training officer (FTO), KMSP reported.

Lane’s attorney said that Floyd’s arrest occurred during Lane’s third shift as an officer and Kueng’s second shift on the police force.

Thao, a nine-year veteran of the Minneapolis police at the time of Floyd’s death, testified in the federal trial that he didn’t know if Chauvin had violated policy when he put a knee on Floyd’s neck because he had repeatedly seen the move demonstrated at the police academy, The Washington Post reported.

During Chauvin’s state trial, police trainers testified that the moves used by officers the day that Floyd died were not taught or sanctioned.

Kueng and Lane’s attorneys sought to place blame for any violations of Floyd’s civil rights on the Minneapolis Police Department which had just completed their training when the incident occurred that left the arrestee dead.

Chauvin had 19 years on the police department on the day of Floyd’s arrest and death.

Sentencing hearings for Kueng and Thao, who are expected to get longer sentences, have not yet been scheduled, CBS News reported.

Their trial on state charges is scheduled for later this year after having been postponed til after the conclusion of the federal case.

Chauvin was sentenced on July 7 to 21 years for violating Floyd’s civil rights.

Federal prosecutors had asked the judge to give Chauvin 25 years, and defense attorneys had argued that 20 years would be more appropriate given that the former police officer had expressed remorse for Floyd’s death and his part in it, NBC News reported.

U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson ultimately gave Chauvin 21 years with credit for time that he had already served, a reduction that brought his federal sentence down to 20 years and five months.

Chauvin pleaded guilty in December of 2021 to violating George Floyd’s civil rights when he used excessive force.

He initially pleaded not guilty when he and three other former Minneapolis police officers were indicted by a federal grand jury.

But by pleading guilty to the federal charges, Chauvin avoided another lengthy and expensive trial and might get a lesser sentence, NBC News reported.

The former Minneapolis police officer is already serving a 22-and-a-half-year prison sentence for the murder of Floyd on May 25, 2020.

Floyd died in the custody of the Minneapolis police on May 25, 2020 after officers responded to a call about a counterfeit $20 that he had allegedly used to make a purchase at a deli.

Store employees pointed out the suspect to police and they arrested him.

The complaint used to charge Chauvin said Floyd actively resisted arrest and then fought being put in the back of a police car once he had been handcuffed.

Cell phone video showed then-Officer Chauvin and three other officers holding Floyd on the ground.

The video showed Officer Chauvin held his knee on Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes, during which time the suspect lost consciousness.

Chauvin remained on Floyd’s neck for almost three minutes after he was unresponsive.

Written by
Sandy Malone

Managing Editor - Twitter/@SandyMalone_ - Prior to joining The Police Tribune, Sandy wrote the Politics.Net column for the Wall Street Journal and was managing editor of Campaigns & Elections magazine. More recently, she was an internationally-syndicated columnist for Conde Nast (BRIDES), The Huffington Post, and Monsters and Critics. Sandy is married to a retired police captain and former SWAT commander.

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Written by Sandy Malone

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