Ex-Minneapolis cop pleads guilty to manslaughter in murder of George Floyd

Minneapolis, Minnesota - Thomas Lane, one of the cops on the scene during the murder of George Floyd, pleaded guilty on Wednesday to aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.

Ex-Minneapolis cop Thomas Lane (r.) has pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter in the murder of George Floyd, which renewed Black Lives Matter protests (l.) around the world.
Ex-Minneapolis cop Thomas Lane (r.) has pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter in the murder of George Floyd, which renewed Black Lives Matter protests (l.) around the world.  © Collage: Brandon Bell / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP & REUTERS

When asked by the judge how he was going to plead to the state charges, the former police officer responded, "Guilty, your honor," the Associated Press reported.

Lane held George Floyd's legs as Derek Chauvin, who has already been found guilty of murder, knelt on his neck over nine minutes. Floyd's death – which occurred almost two years ago on May 25, 2020 – sparked a renewed wave of Black Lives Matter protests around the country and the world.

Lane, along with fellow ex-officers J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao, has already been convicted on federal charges of willfully violating George Floyd's civil rights. He has not yet had his sentencing in that case.

Lane's recommended sentence for the state charge is three years – which is below the normal sentencing guidelines. The ex-cop will also be allowed to serve out that sentence at the same time he is serving his federal prison time.

Because he pleaded guilty, another charge of aiding and abetting second-degree unintentional murder will be dismissed.

"Hopefully, this plea helps usher in a new era where officers understand that juries will hold them accountable, just as they would any other citizen," family attorneys Ben Crump, Jeff Storms, and Antonio Romanucci said after the decision. "Perhaps soon, officers will not require families to endure the pain of lengthy court proceedings where their criminal acts are obvious and apparent."

Lane's sentencing for the state charge is set for September 21.

Cover photo: Collage: Brandon Bell / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP & REUTERS

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