‘It’s insulting’ – Ex-police officer sentenced for violating George Floyd’s civil rights

An ex-police officer has been handed a two-and-a-half years prison sentence for his role in the killing of George Floyd.

Back in February, Thomas Lane was found guilty of depriving Mr Floyd of medical care as he lay dying under then-officer Derek Chauvin’s knee in May 2020.

Appearing in court on Thursday, Lane did not speak during his sentencing hearing and was ordered to surrender to US marshals on 4 October.

The killing of Mr Floyd in Minneapolis sparked protests across the city and all around the world over racial injustice in policing.

Lane, who is white, held Mr Floyd’s legs as he was pinned down by Chauvin for nearly nine-and-a-half minutes.

Two other officers, J Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao, were also convicted of violating Mr Floyd’s civil rights and will be sentenced later.

While Lane will serve two-and-a-half months behind bars, federal prosecutors had asked for a sentence of up to six-and-a-half years.

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His attorney Earl Gray asked for a little over two years, arguing that Lane was the least culpable of the officers in part because he had asked his colleagues twice whether Mr Floyd should be turned on his side.

When Lane pleaded guilty, Mr Gray said he hoped to avoid a long sentence.

“He has a newborn baby and did not want to risk not being part of the child’s life,” he said.

George Floyd was killed while under arrest in Minneapolis in May
Image:George Floyd was killed while under arrest in Minneapolis

‘Angry and fed up’

However, the sentence has not been welcomed by Mr Floyd’s family, with his brother Philonise calling it “insulting”.

He said Lane was “an accessory to murder” and this shows that “the whole criminal system needs to be torn down and rebuilt”.

Brandon Williams, a nephew of Mr Floyd, said he was “angry and fed up”.

During his trial, Lane said he didn’t realise how dire the 46-year-old’s condition was until paramedics turned him over.

But, prosecutor Manda Sertich told the court that while Lane knew Mr Floyd was in distress, he “did nothing” to give him the medical aid he knew he “so desperately needed”.

Derek Chauvin speaks ahead of his sentencing
Image:Derek Chauvin

Chauvin pleaded guilty to separate federal civil rights charges in December in Mr Floyd’s killing and in an unrelated case involving a black teenager.

As a result, he was given a 21-year sentence which was toward the low end of the range of 20 to 25 years both sides agreed to under his plea deal.

Chauvin was already serving a 22-and-a-half-year state court sentence for second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

His federal and state sentences are running concurrently.

Mark Gibson

Graduates in Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 1990. Move to Los Angeles California in 2004. Specialized in Internet journalism.

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