According to CNN, Thomas Lane, one of the former Minneapolis police officers found guilty of violating George Floyd’s civil rights, was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison on Thursday. Three additional former Minneapolis police officers were also convicted of federal civil rights charges in connection with Floyd’s death in May 2020.
Lane’s punishment also comes approximately two months after he pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter in Floyd’s death. Prosecutors and Lane’s counsel requested the court to sentence Lane to three years in prison, to be served concurrently. The sentencing date for that state offense is said to be September 21.
Floyd died after former Minneapolis detective Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for over nine minutes while pleading for his life and telling the officer he couldn’t breathe.
Prosecutors had requested that Lane be sentenced to between 5.25 and 6.5 years in jail. However, the former police officer’s attorney requested that Judge Paul A. Magnuson sentence his client to 2.5 years in jail.
During the sentencing, Judge Magnuson stated that Lane’s role in the tragic arrest was “limited,” and that he had received 145 letters of support for Lane.
“It is not uncommon to receive letters. “However, I’ve never gotten so many letters,” he admitted.
The judge also proposed that Lane serve his time at the federal prison in Duluth, where he would be near to his friends and family.
In February, Lane and two former officers – J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao – were convicted of violating Floyd’s civil rights. The three men were convicted after a jury determined they “deprived Floyd of his constitutional right to be free from a police officer’s deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs when they saw him restrained in police custody in clear need of medical care,” according to a statement from the Department of Justice, adding that this caused Floyd to sustain physical injuries that resulted in his death.
Lane was a rookie cop at the time of the Black man’s death. The tragic arrest footage showed him restraining Floyd’s legs while Kueng rested his knee on the Black man’s back. Bystanders, on the other hand, were restrained by Thao. Lane said in court at the beginning of the year that he twice asked Chauvin to reposition Floyd while he was restrained. According to CNN, his request was denied.
Floyd’s family, though, expressed their disappointment with Lane’s sentence at a press conference on Thursday.
“The fact that this judge had a chance to deliver a maximum amount of time and he chose not to — what did that tell other people around the world? What does that tell people of color? ” Floyd’s brother, Philonise Floyd, said. “The fact that they went below the (recommended) sentence, that’s terrible, because you give other people, for other crimes, way more time than that.”ses.”
Brandon Williams, the deceased Black man’s nephew, called the 2.5-year prison sentence a “slap in the face.”
“(Lane) also decided to murder my uncle.” He understood exactly what he needed to do, but he chose not to do it. That is not by chance. “That is a choice,” Williams added.
Floyd’s girlfriend, Courteney Ross, also stated that even though she informed Lane that she did not believe he was a bad person, he had to face the consequences of his conduct.
“I believe he was caught up in a situation in which he did not do the proper thing.” “He succumbed to the pressures of a man he should have no respect for,” she explained. “I hope that in the future, we will see that people’s lives must be cherished.” And holding people accountable is part of that.”
Chauvin was sentenced to 22 and a half years in jail in June of last year after being found guilty of Floyd’s murder. He was sentenced to 21 years in jail a few weeks ago after pleading guilty to violating Floyd’s civil rights. Both sentences will run at the same time.
Kueng and Thao’s sentence dates are yet to be determined.