Recorded on video restraining George Floyd as Derek Chauvin murdered him, a former Minneapolis police officer pleaded guilty Wednesday to a state charge of manslaughter.
On May 25, 2020, Minneapolis Police Officer Thomas Lane was recorded on cellphone video restraining Floyd’s legs, while Officer Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck for nearly ten minutes. Officer J. Alexander Kueng assisted in restraining the handcuffed man, as Officer Tou Thao argued with witnesses who were pleading for Floyd’s life.
The next day, all four officers were terminated from the Minneapolis Police Department. On March 12, 2021, the city of Minneapolis agreed to pay $27 million to Floyd’s family in order to settle the wrongful death lawsuit against the police department and the city.
Convicted on murder and manslaughter charges in state court, Chauvin was sentenced to 22.5 years in prison on June 25, 2021. Thao, Lane, and Kueng were charged in state court for aiding and abetting both second-degree murder and manslaughter.
On December 15, 2021, Chauvin pleaded guilty to federal charges of violating the civil rights of George Floyd and a 14-year-old boy in a separate incident. In February, a federal jury found Thao, Lane, and Kueng guilty of violating Floyd’s constitutional rights under color of law by failing to provide medical assistance. Thao and Kueng were also convicted of violating Floyd’s right to be free of unreasonable seizure by willfully failing to intervene to prevent Chauvin from applying bodily injury to Floyd.
On Wednesday, Lane pleaded guilty to a state charge of aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter in the killing of George Floyd. As part of Thomas Lane’s plea agreement, a more serious count of aiding and abetting second-degree unintentional murder will be dismissed.
“I am pleased Thomas Lane has accepted responsibility for his role in Floyd’s death,” Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison said in a recent statement. “His acknowledgment he did something wrong is an important step toward healing the wounds of the Floyd family, our community, and the nation. While accountability is not justice, this is a significant moment in this case and a necessary resolution on our continued journey to justice.”
Kueng and Thao are currently scheduled to appear in state court on June 13.