A former Minneapolis police officer pleaded guilty on Wednesday to manslaughter in the murder of George Floyd and agreed to spend three years in state prison, i funzionari hanno detto.
Thomas Lane’s plea to a count of aiding and abetting manslaughter came a year after his former colleague Derek Chauvin, who was recorded by a bystander killing Floyd by kneeling on his neck, was convicted of murder and sentenced to more than two decades in prison.
A febbraio, Lane and former officers Tou Thao and J Alexander Kueng were convicted in federal court of violating Floyd’s civil rights. Sentences have not yet been handed down for them.
Lane, 39, was tentatively scheduled to be sentenced for Wednesday’s plea on 21 settembre. He agreed to serve that 36-month punishment at the same time as the sentence ultimately handed to him in the federal case, said a state court spokesperson, Jael McLemore.
Thao, 36, and Kueng, 28, remain scheduled to go to trial in June on state charges of aiding and abetting murder as well as aiding and abetting manslaughter. Lane avoided that trial, which could take weeks, with his guilty plea, ensuring prosecutors also dismissed a charge of aiding and abetting murder.
The top prosecutor in Minnesota, Keith Ellison, said he was pleased Lane had “accepted responsibility in Mr 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,” Ellison said in a statement.
“While accountability is not justice, this is a significant moment in this case and a necessary resolution on our continued journey to justice.”
According to McLemore, relatives of Floyd watched Lane’s five-minute plea hearing virtually, less than a week before the second anniversary of his murder.
Police confronted Floyd, who was Black, su 25 Maggio 2020, after a store clerk accused Floyd of paying for cigarettes with a fake $20 bill.
As a bystander filmed, Chauvin – who is white – used his knee to pin down Floyd, who was handcuffed, by his neck and from behind for more than nine minutes. Lane, Kueng and Thao stood nearby.
The video captured Lane asking Chauvin if they should roll Floyd over. Chauvin brushed off the question, and Lane relented, though he knew the position was mortally dangerous, secondo records filed in court di mercoledì.
Protests calling for racial justice erupted across the US and the world as footage of Floyd’s death went viral. The four officers were eventually arrested and charged.
A state jury convicted Chauvin of murder and manslaughter in April last year and a judge later sentenced him to 22 and a half years in prison. He pleaded guilty in federal court to violating Floyd’s civil rights through unreasonable force and by ignoring his medical needs, among other charges, and awaits sentencing in that case.
A federal jury found that Lane, Kueng and Thao also violated Floyd’s civil rights, by failing to provide aid as he died. Jurors also determined that Kueng and Thao failed to stop Chauvin using excessive force.
Lane is white, Kueng is Black, and Thao is Hmong American. When Floyd was murdered, Lane and Kueng were on their first week on the job.