Thomas Lane, one of the former Minneapolis police officers involved in George Floyd’s killing, has pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter, according to the Minnesota attorney general.
On Wednesday morning, State Attorney General Keith Ellison said the plea agreement reached with Lane represents an “important step toward healing the wounds of the Floyd family, our community, and the nation,” Associated Press reported.
Lane, 38, had been scheduled to go to trial next month in state court along with his former Minneapolis police colleagues J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao.
All three former officers were convicted in February by a federal jury on charges of violating George Floyd’s civil rights by failing to intervene or provide medical aid as their senior officer, Derek Chauvin, kneeled on the back of the handcuffed 46-year-old Black man’s neck for more than nine minutes in the May 25, 2020, incident. Footage showed during the arrest, Lane held down Floyd’s legs, Kueng held down Floyd’s torso, and Thao stood nearby and kept a crowd of upset bystanders back, as Floyd desperately pleaded for them to let him breathe and called for his mother before he lost consciousness and died.
At the time, it was Lane’s fourth day on the job. Lane testified in the trial that he asked Chauvin twice to reposition Floyd during the restraint but was denied both times. Body camera footage confirms Lane’s testimony.
It was revealed at Chauvin’s state trial, that Floyd died of “positional asphyxia” due to his prone position and the pressure on his back, by a series of medical experts. Once the ambulance eventually arrived and first responders lifted Floyd, who was limp at that point, into the vehicle. Lane joined them in the ambulance and did CPR on Floyd.
The plea deal entails that Lane will have a count of aiding and abetting second-degree unintentional murder dismissed. Lane, along with J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao, has already been convicted on federal counts of willfully violating Floyd’s rights during the May 2020 restraint that led to the Black man’s death.
The state recommended a sentence for Lane of three years—which is below state sentencing guidelines—and has agreed to allow him to serve the time in a federal prison. He has not yet been sentenced in the federal case.
Chauvin was convicted in state court last year of murder in Floyd’s death and was sentenced to more than 22 years in prison. As part of a plea agreement, Chauvin pleaded guilty in December to federal civil rights charges related to Floyd’s death and the restraint of a teenager in a separate incident.
There was no word on whether similar plea agreements are under consideration by Kueng and Thao, who are still scheduled to go on trial in state court on June 13.