Wednesday’s sentencing is expected for a former Minneapolis police officer who pleaded guilty to a state charge of encouraging second-degree manslaughter in George Floyd’s death.
For breaching Floyd’s civil rights, Thomas Lane has already been given a federal sentence of two and a half years.
However, prosecutors and Lane’s lawyers reached an agreement on a three-year sentence for the state’s case.
They also agreed to let him serve that punishment concurrently with his federal term in federal prison.
It’s anticipated that Lane will get a state sentence parallel to his federal one. Lane will appear by video from the Federal Correctional Institution Englewood.
During the sentencing hearing on Wednesday, the low-security national prison camp in Littleton, Colorado, will be conducted remotely.
Floyd, 46, passed away in May 2020 after Officer Derek Chauvin, a white man, pushed him to the ground as the Black man repeatedly screamed that he was having trouble breathing. Lane, a white person, restrained Floyd’s legs.
During the 9 1/2-minute restraint, Tou Thao, a Hmong American, and J. Alexander Kueng, a Black man, blocked onlookers from interfering by kneeling on Floyd’s back and supporting him.
The death was documented on a widely watched bystander video, which led to demonstrations in Minneapolis and other cities due to racial injustice.
In 2021, Chauvin was sentenced to 22 1/2 years in state prison after being found guilty of murder and manslaughter.
His state and federal sentences are being served concurrently after he also entered a guilty plea to a national count of violating Floyd’s civil rights.
Additionally found guilty on federal civil rights charges, Kueng and Thao received sentences of three and three and a half years, respectively.
They are due to stand trial in October on state accusations of aiding and abetting murder and manslaughter. But they have not yet gone to federal jail.
Lane acknowledged that he knowingly assisted in restraining Floyd in a manner that presented an unnecessary danger and resulted in his death when he pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter earlier this year.
A more severe charge of encouraging second-degree unintentional murder was dropped as part of the plea deal.
In his plea deal, Lane acknowledged that he understood from his training that holding Floyd in that position put him in great danger of dying.
He also acknowledged that he heard Floyd indicate he was having trouble breathing, noticed that Floyd became quiet, had no pulse, and seemed unconscious.
According to the plea deal, Lane was aware that Floyd should have been turned onto his side; in fact, there is evidence that he repeatedly inquired about this; however, he continued to help with the restraint despite the danger.
Lane concurred that the condition “constituted an illegal use of force under the circumstances” and was unreasonable.
Although he has the right to do so, Lane did not speak at his federal sentence, and it was unclear whether he would on Wednesday.