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Ex-Minneapolis cop Thomas Lane pleads guilty to state charge in George Floyd's death

Ex-Minneapolis cop Thomas Lane pleads guilty to state charge in George Floyd's death
Thomas Lane was one of several Minneapolis police officers who were involved in the arrest of George Floyd in May 2020. Photo courtesy Hennepin County Sheriff's Office

May 18 (UPI) -- Thomas Lane, one of the Minneapolis police officers involved in the deadly arrest of George Floyd two years ago, pleaded guilty Wednesday to a charge of aiding and abetting manslaughter in Floyd's death.

Lane entered the plea to second-degree manslaughter in Hennepin County court to Judge Peter Cahill -- who presided over the criminal trial of Derek Chauvin, the officer who knelt on Floyd's neck for close to 10 minutes and caused his death during an arrest. Chauvin was convicted last year on state murder and manslaughter charges and sentenced to more than 22 years in prison.

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On Wednesday, Lane pleaded guilty in exchange for a three-year prison sentence to be served concurrently with his federal sentence for violating Floyd's civil rights. That sentence has not yet been imposed.

Also as part of the plea, prosecutors will drop a charge of aiding and abetting second-degree unintentional murder.

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Former Minneapolis officers Tou Thao and J. Alexander Kueng are scheduled to stand trial next month on state charges of aiding and abetting second-degree murder and manslaughter in Floyd's death. All three were found guilty in federal court in February of violating Floyd's civil rights during the May 2020 arrest.

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"I am pleased Thomas Lane has accepted responsibility for his role in Floyd's death," Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison said in a statement after the plea Wednesday.

"His acknowledgment he did something wrong is an important step toward healing the wounds of the Floyd family, our community, and the nation."

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"While accountability is not justice, this is a significant moment in this case and a necessary resolution on our continued journey to justice," Ellison added.

Last week, a federal judge accepted a plea deal for Chauvin in which the former officer will receive a sentence of between 20 and 25 years for violating Floyd's civil rights.

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