Former Minneapolis police officer Thomas Lane was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison for his role in the murder of George Floyd in May 2020.
Lane and fellow former officers J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao were convicted in February for violating Floyd’s civil rights. A jury found they failed to offer medical aid to Floyd, an unarmed Black man, as he called out for air, eventually losing consciousness and dying under the knee of disgraced former officer Derek Chauvin.
"Mr. Lane, this is a very serious offense, in which a life was lost,” U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson said during the sentencing. “The fact that you did not get up and remove Mr. Chauvin when Mr. Floyd became unconscious is a violation of the law.”
Lane was one of the first officers to arrive on the scene, responding to a 911 call about an allegedly counterfeit $20 bill. He and Kueng restrained Floyd while Chauvin knelt on him for nine minutes and 29 seconds until Floyd died. Lane can be heard on body cam video expressing concern over Floyd’s condition and asking the other officers if they should reposition him. Lane and Kueng were rookies at the time. Thao, Chauvin’s partner, held back an increasingly-concerned crowd during the incident.
Chauvin is currently serving a state sentence of 22-and-a-half years after a jury found him guilty of three charges: second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter.
Chauvin is concurrently serving a 21-year federal sentence for violating Floyd's civil rights and the civil rights of a 14-year-old Black boy in an unrelated case.
Prosecutors asked Magnuson, the federal judge overseeing Lane’s case, to sentence Lane to at least five-and-a-quarter years in prison, while Lane’s attorney, Earl Gray, argued that his client was the least guilty of the officers involved in Floyd’s murder. He asked for a sentence of 27 months.
Magnuson blamed the Minneapolis Police Department for sending Lane out with another rookie on the call that led to Floyd’s murder. He also said he had never received as many letters of support for a defendant.
Lane already pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting manslaughter in a separate, state case. Sentencing for that case is set for Sept. 21