Ex-police officer pleads guilty to manslaughter in killing of George Floyd

A former Minneapolis police officer has pleaded guilty to a state charge of aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter in the killing of George Floyd.George Floyd was killed in May 2020. Pic: ShutterstockLate George Floyd

Thomas Lane was one of three ex-policemen who watched fellow officer Derek Chauvin kill Floyd by kneeling on his neck. By entering the plea, Lane avoided an upcoming trial in June on the more serious charge of aiding and abetting second-degree murder.

Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill has agreed to a three-year jail sentence for him.

The two other ex-officers involved in Floyd’s arrest, Tou Thao and J Alexander Kueng, are scheduled to go on trial next month on state charges of aiding and abetting second-degree murder and manslaughter.(Clockwise from top left) J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane, Tou Thao, Derek Chauvin(Clockwise from top left) J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane, Tou Thao, Derek Chauvin

There was no word on whether similar plea agreements were under consideration by the pair.

The three were convicted in February on federal charges of depriving Floyd of his civil rights by failing to help him during the restraint that led to the black man’s death in May 2020.

Sentencing for all three is pending, with a date yet to be announced.

Floyd, 46, was killed after former policeman Chauvin put a knee on his neck and pinned him to the ground, with the man saying he couldn’t breathe. Lane and Kueng helped to restrain Floyd, who was handcuffed. Lane held down Floyd’s legs and Kueng knelt on his back. Thao kept bystanders from intervening during the restraint which lasted more than nine minutes.

Chauvin was convicted in June 2021 of state charges of murder and manslaughter and sentenced to 22-and-a-half years. He pleaded guilty in December 2021 to a federal charge of violating Floyd’s civil rights and faces a federal sentence ranging from 20 to 25 years after the judge accepted a plea deal earlier this month.

After a month-long federal trial in February, Lane, Thao and Kueng were convicted of depriving Floyd of his right to medical care and the latter two were also convicted of failing to intervene to stop Chauvin during the killing. Speaking on Wednesday, Attorney General Keith Ellison, whose office prosecuted the state case against Lane, said he was pleased Lane accepted responsibility for his role in Floyd’s death.

“His acknowledgment he did something wrong is an important step toward healing the wounds of the Floyd family, our community, and the nation,” Mr Ellison said. “While accountability is not justice, this is a significant moment in this case and a necessary resolution on our continued journey to justice.”

Floyd’s death was caught on video and sparked racial injustice protests in Minneapolis and around the world.

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