A federal judge Thursday sentenced former police officer Thomas Lane to 2½ years in prison for his role in the May 2020 death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson handed down the sentence, which follows Lane’s conviction in February for violating Floyd’s civil rights. Authorities said Lane did not provide medical care to Floyd as another officer, Derek Chauvin, used a knee to pin a handcuffed Floyd to the ground for more than nine minutes. Floyd repeatedly said he could not breathe. He was pronounced dead at a local hospital.
This case sparked national interest as the death of Floyd, a Black man, led to protests in Minneapolis, Minnesota, as well as throughout the country and the world against racial injustice and police treatment of minorities.
Chauvin was convicted of unintentional second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in a state trial in April 2021. He is serving 22½ years in prison on those charges.
Lane, who was a rookie officer, held Floyd’s legs as Chauvin pinned Floyd to the ground. The two other officers involved in the situation, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao, were also convicted of violating Floyd’s civil rights and will be sentenced at a later date.
In May, Lane pleaded guilty to state charges of aiding and abetting manslaughter charges and accepted a three-year prison sentence. The other two officers will appear for their state trial in January.
Federal prosecutors for this case were seeking a sentence of up to 6½ years. Lane’s attorney argued for just more than two years, saying Lane was the least responsible of the four officers involved in Floyd’s death. The attorney said Lane had twice asked whether Floyd should be turned on his side.
Some information for this report came from Reuters and The Associated Press.