A judge sentenced Thomas Lane up to three years on Wednesday (September 21) for aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter. State charges stem from Lane’s involvement in the 2020 murder of George Floyd. According to reports, Thomas was the former Minneapolis police officer who pinned George’s feet to the ground.
Lane’s sentencing is expected this month after he pleaded guilty to manslaughter in May. In exchange for a plea, prosecutors denied the charge of “abetting second-degree murder.” A previous conviction for negligent homicide carries a 12-year prison sentence.
However, it seems that Thomas will only spend about three years total behind the bars. Judge Peter Cahill also ruled Wednesday that Lane will serve his state sentence concurrently with his federal sentence.
If Lane gets credit for good behavior on either charge, he’s likely out sooner.
Thomas received sentence for violating civil rights of George Floyd
In July, Thomas was sentenced to 2.5 years for violating George Floyd’s civil rights. Judge Paul Magnuson called the role of Thomas “A very serious offense in which a life was lost.“However, he continued to lower the sentence, despite the prosecutors’ request for at least five years. As a result, Thomas began serving a 2.5-year federal sentence at a Colorado facility on August 30.
As part of Wednesday’s ruling, Judge Cahill gave Thomas 31 days to be served. The former police officer will also not be compensated.
Like Lane’s federal sentence, Judge Cahill also downplayed the state sentence. Follow related press, a three-year sentence for aiding and abetting fell “below sentencing guidelines.” However, Judge Cahill remained stuck with the three-year sentence that the prosecution and defense teams had dealt with.
Meanwhile, evidence from the civil trial and court documents shows that Thomas attempted to interfere in Derek Chavin’s deadly restraining case. Lane requested two adjustments to George’s legs and body, but Derek objected. With only four working days, Thomas obeyed Derek’s orders.
In May, however, Thomas admitted that he helped Derek restrain George in a way that created an unjustified risk. Additionally, Lane admitted that he heard George say he couldn’t breathe, noticing when George became silent, had no pulse, and appeared to be unconscious.
George Floyd’s family speaks out at sentencing
Based on CNN, Lane did not speak in court on Wednesday. However, Judge Cahill and the family of George Floyd discussed a future beyond this case.
“I think it’s a very wise decision for you to accept responsibility and move on with your life,” the judge said while acknowledging that Floyd’s family was unable to move on.
Part of the reason Thomas pleaded guilty was to negotiate what he received on a dismissed charge of unintentional murder and at the same time to serve his sentence. Not only that, but Minnesota law requires him to serve only two-thirds of those sentences. These factors are important to Lane because, in the words of his attorney, Thomas “Having a newborn and not wanting to take risks is not part of the child’s life.”
Meanwhile, on Wednesday, George’s family made it clear where they stand in a victim impact statement read by prosecutor Matthew Frank.
“Talking about moving on? OH. Really? Me and my family would love to move on, but without much accountability,” the statement said. “We will always show up for George Floyd, but never continue.”