Former Minneapolis Police Officer Thomas Lane Pleads Guilty to Manslaughter in George Floyd's Killing

The state will recommend a 3-year sentence

Thomas Lane
Thomas Lane. Photo: Hennepin County Sheriff's Office

Disgraced former Minneapolis policeman Thomas Lane pleaded guilty Wednesday to a state charge of second-degree manslaughter in the May 25, 2020, killing of George Floyd, PEOPLE confirms.

Lane's plea was announced on Wednesday in a statement released by Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison.

"I am pleased Thomas Lane has accepted responsibility for his role in Floyd's death," the statement reads. "His acknowledgment he did something wrong is an important step toward healing the wounds of the Floyd family, our community, and the nation."

Ellison noted that "while accountability is not justice, this is a significant moment in this case and a necessary resolution on our continued journey to justice."

Ellison also said that his "thoughts are once again with the victims, George Floyd and his family," adding, "Nothing will bring Floyd back — he should still be with us today."

george floyd
George Floyd.

Lane, 39, and two other ex-officers — J. Alexander Kueng, 28, and Tou Thao, 34 — had already been convicted on federal counts of willfully violating Floyd's constitutional rights by showing deliberate indifference to his medical needs and failing to provide aid as Derek Chauvin, the senior officer on the scene, pressed his knee into Floyd's neck for more than nine minutes, killing him.

The other three officers watched as Floyd struggled to breathe and repeatedly indicated his distress. The other officers all testified on their own behalf and said they had trusted Chauvin's lead at the time.

Floyd had been detained by the four officers for allegedly using a counterfeit $20 bill at a corner Minneapolis market.

"Because the State is preparing for the June 13 trial of defendants J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao on charges of second-degree unintentional murder and second-degree manslaughter in the death of George Floyd, Attorney General Ellison will have no further comment at this time," the statement concludes.

The state will recommend a sentence of three years for Lane; he'll be allowed to serve that time while he's in federal prison.

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It was unclear Wednesday when Lane will be sentenced.

Chauvin, 46, pleaded guilty last year to a federal charge of violating Floyd's civil rights and faces a federal sentence ranging from 20 to 25 years.

Prior to that, Chauvin was convicted on state charges of murder and manslaughter. He was sentenced to 22.5 years in prison — or 270 months.

To help combat systemic racism, consider learning from or donating to these organizations:

  • Campaign Zero ( which works to end police brutality in America through research-proven strategies.
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