Former Minneapolis police officer jailed for 2-1/2 years in George Floyd case

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FILE PHOTO: A view of the George Floyd mural at 38th Street and Chicago Avenue a day before opening statements in the trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin, in Minneapolis

By Brendan O’Brien

(Reuters) -A former Minneapolis officer was sentenced to 2-1/2 years in prison on federal charges stemming from his role in the killing of George Floyd, a Black man whose death sparked protests around the world against racial injustice, a court spokesperson said.

U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson sentenced Thomas Lane in a federal courtroom in St. Paul on charges that he had deprived Floyd of his civil rights and caused Floyd’s death during an attempt to arrest him.

Magnuson also ordered Lane to be placed on supervised release for two years after he serves his time in prison, a public information officer told Reuters.

Lane, 39, was one of four officers who were called to a Minneapolis grocery store on May 25, 2020, and tried to take Floyd into custody on suspicion that he used a fake $20 bill to buy cigarettes.

During the encounter, the senior officer on the scene, Derek Chauvin, pinned the handcuffed Floyd’s neck to the ground with a knee for more than nine minutes, causing his death.

In February, Lane, along with two other former officers, Tou Thao and Alexander Kueng, were found guilty by a federal jury for their involvement in Floyd’s death. No date has been set for sentencing Thao and Kueng.

During the trial, federal prosecutors argued that the three men knew from their training and from “basic human decency” that they had a duty to help Floyd as he begged for his life before falling limp beneath Chauvin’s knee.

Earlier in July, Chauvin was sentenced to 21 years in prison on federal charges of violating Floyd’s civil rights.

Chauvin also was convicted of intentional second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in a state trial in 2021. He is serving a concurrent sentence of 22-1/2 years on that conviction.

In May, Lane pleaded guilty to state aiding and abetting manslaughter charges and agreed to a sentence of three years in prison. A state trial is scheduled to be begin in January for the other two officers.

(Reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Chicago; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Rosalba O’Brien)

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