Former Officer in George Floyd Case Reaches Plea Deal With Lower Sentence

One of the four former Minneapolis police officers involved in the death of George Floyd pleaded guilty to a state charge of aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter Wednesday morning.

Thomas Lane, 39, will have one count of aiding and abetting second-degree unintentional murder, a state charge with a maximum prison sentence of 40 years, dismissed as a part of the plea deal.

The prosecution, the State of Minnesota, and the defense have jointly recommended a sentence of 3 years in the plea deal, served concurrent with Lane’s federal sentence for violating Floyd’s civil rights, which is yet to be determined.

Lane’s potential 36-month sentence, according to a probation referral published by the Minnesota court on Wednesday, represents a “downward duration departure of 5 months,” meaning that Lane’s sentence is five months shorter in duration than what state guidelines would prescribe under normal circumstances.

Thomas Lane
Former Minneapolis Police Officer Thomas Lane arrives at the U.S. District Court in St. Paul, Minn., on Jan. 11, 2022, for the pre-trial of three former Minneapolis police officers charged with federal civil rights violations in George Floyd’s death. (Kerem Yucel/AFP via Getty Images)

In order to get a downward durational departure, the prosecution must agree that there are “mitigating circumstances,” that the case is “unusual,” and the “defendant deserves a break,” legal analyst Joe Tamburino explained to CBS News.

“Why were there such high charges to begin with? Why did we go through all of this in the last year-plus?” said Tamburino.

The state has additionally recommended allowing Lane to serve the time in federal prison, which has significantly lower in-prison mortality rates (pdf) than state prison.

Lane was one of the four officers present on the scene when Derek Chauvin, the most veteran of the four, knelt on his neck on Floyd’s neck and back as Lane and Kueng restrained the man’s lower body. Floyd died from being deprived of oxygen moments later.

In February, a jury convicted Lane in a federal court for violating George Floyd’s civil rights while acting under government authority after a 5-week trial. The jury found Lane guilty of “deliberate indifference” to Floyd’s medical needs.

The prosecutor in the February trial said Lane “did nothing to give Mr. Floyd the medical aid he knew Mr. Floyd so desperately needed.”

Meanwhile, Lane’s attorney, Earl Gray, said in the same trial that while Lane was assisting Derek Chauvin in restraining Floyd, Lane suggested rolling Floyd over twice but was rejected both times by Chauvin.

Gray urged the jury to “apply the law to the facts” and be “the exact opposite of a mob.”

Along with his former colleagues J. Alexander Keung and Tou Thao, Lane was initially scheduled for trial in June for his state charges.

Lane was released on bond and will be sentenced on Sept. 21, 2022.

From The Epoch Times