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Ex-Minneapolis cop pleads guilty to manslaughter in George Floyd killing
18 May 2022, 16:19
A former police officer has pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter in the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
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Thomas Lane has pleaded guilty as part of a plea deal, which will see a count of aiding and abetting unintentional murder dismissed.
Lane, along with J Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao, has already been convicted on federal counts of wilfully violating Mr Floyd's rights during the restraint that led to his death.
The state is recommending a sentence of three years for Lane and has agreed to allow him to serve the time in a federal prison.
George Floyd died after he was pinned to the ground by officers - one of whom put a knee on his neck - as the 46-year-old repeatedly said he could not breathe.
His death sparked widespread anger after millions of people saw videos of the incident on social media - leading to a rise in the Black Lives Matter movement.
The video showed Mr Floyd repeatedly crying “I can’t breathe” as Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee on his neck.
Last summer, Chauvin was found guilty of the murder of George Floyd following a three-week trial, and sentenced to 22-and-a-half years.
Chauvin also pleaded guilty last year to a federal charge of violating Mr Floyd's civil rights and faces a federal sentence ranging from 20 to 25 years.
Lane and Kueng helped to restrain Mr Floyd, who was handcuffed after officers responded to a call about a possible forgery at a corner shop.
They encountered Mr Floyd, who they handcuffed face-down in the street. He was pinned to the ground for about nine minutes while bystanders shouted at Chauvin to stop.
Lane held down Mr Floyd's legs and Kueng knelt on Mr Floyd's back.
Thao kept bystanders from intervening during the restraint.
Lane was convicted along with Kueng and Thao of federal charges in February, after a month-long trial that focused on the officers' training and the culture of the police department.
All three were convicted of depriving Mr Floyd of his right to medical care and Thao and Kueng were also convicted of failing to intervene to stop Chauvin during the killing.
After their federal conviction, there was a question as to whether the state trial would proceed.
At an April hearing in state court, prosecutors revealed they had offered plea deals to all three men, but they were rejected.
At the time, Lane's attorney said it was hard for the defence to negotiate when the three still did not know what their federal sentences would be.
Kueng and Thao are also scheduled to go to trial in June on state charges.