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Ex-Minneapolis police officer Thomas Lane sentenced to 2.5 years in prison for violating George Floyd’s civil rights


(CNN) — Thomas Lane, one of the three former Minneapolis police officers convicted in February of violating George Floyd’s civil rights, was sentenced to 2.5 years in federal prison on Thursday.

Federal prosecutors asked Judge Paul A. Magnuson to sentence Lane to between 5.25 years to 6.5 years for his role in the fatal restraint of Floyd on a Minneapolis street in May 2020. Earl Gray, Lane’s attorney, asked for a sentence of 2.25 years.

During the hearing on Thursday, Judge Magnuson said that Lane had a “minimal role” in the incident, adding that he is a person of “outstanding character.” The judge also noted he received 145 letters in support of Lane. “It’s not unusual to receive letters. But I have never received so many letters,” he said.

In addition to the prison sentence, Lane will also be required to pay mandatory restitution in an amount to be determined and will be placed on supervised release for two years after serving his prison term.

Lane declined to make a statement to the court.

Former Minneapolis police officers Lane, Tou Thao and J. Alexander Kueng faced state and federal charges over their actions — or lack thereof — in May 2020 as their colleague Derek Chauvin pressed his knee into the neck and back of Floyd, who was handcuffed and lying on his stomach, for more than nine minutes.

Lane, a rookie officer on his fourth day on the job, held down Floyd’s legs during the arrest, while Kueng restrained his torso and Thao stood nearby and held back a crowd of upset bystanders. In federal court earlier this year, Lane testified that he asked Chauvin twice to reposition Floyd while restraining him but was denied both times.

Lane, Thao and Kueng were each convicted of violating Floyd’s rights during the fatal restraint. Thao and Kueng were also found guilty of an additional federal charge earlier this year for failing to intervene to stop Chauvin. A sentencing date for Thou and Kueng has not been set.

In court Thursday, Floyd’s brother Philonise spoke about the effect of Lane’s actions.

“Our family was given a death sentence May 25, we will never get George back,” he said. “Officer Lane did not intervene in one way or another,” he added.

In addition, Lane has pleaded guilty in state court to aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter last month. Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison’s office and defense attorneys jointly recommended to the court a sentence of three years, according to Ellison’s office. Lane is scheduled to be sentenced on September 21 on the state charge, according to the court.

As part of the plea deal, Lane’s sentence on the state charge will run concurrent with his federal sentence, and he will serve his time in a federal institution, his attorney Earl Gray said last month.

Thou and Kueng also face a state trial that is slated for late October on charges of aiding and abetting second-degree unintentional murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter. They have pleaded not guilty.

Chauvin was convicted last year of murder and manslaughter in a state trial and was sentenced to more than 22 years in prison. He pleaded guilty to federal charges of violating Floyd’s civil rights in December and was sentenced to 21 years in prison earlier this month. Chauvin’s federal sentence will run concurrently with his state sentence.

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