The former Minneapolis officer has been sentenced to two and a half years in prison on federal charges related to his role in the killing of George Floyd, an African American whose death sparked protests around the world against racial injustice.
US District Judge Paul Magnuson sentenced Thomas Lane in a federal courtroom in St. Louis. Paul on charges of depriving Mr Floyd of his civil rights and causing his death while attempting to arrest him.
Judge Magnuson also ordered Lane’s supervised release for two years after he served his term in prison, a public affairs official told Reuters.
Lane, 39, was one of four officers called on May 25, 2020, to a Minneapolis grocery store trying to take Mr. Floyd into custody on suspicion of using a counterfeit $20 bill to buy cigarettes.
During the confrontation, senior officer at the scene, Derek Chauvin, pinned Floyd’s handcuffed neck to the ground with his knee for more than nine minutes, resulting in his death.
George Floyd’s family calls sentence ‘terrible’
Federal prosecutors called on US Judge Paul Magnuson to sentence the white Lane to five years in prison.
His lawyers asked for a much lighter sentence of just over two years on the grounds that Lane offered to bring Floyd to his side and attempted to resuscitate him.
The judge went with 30 months, with two years of parole.
One of George Floyd’s brothers, Philonise Floyd, told television cameras outside of court that he felt the length of the sentence was not long enough.
“[It is] it’s insulting that he didn’t get the maximum amount of time,” he said.
“Give it meaning. He stood and did nothing when my brother was killed. The world has seen it. He must take full responsibility.”
“This is terrible. This whole criminal system needs to be demolished and rebuilt,” he added.
Other former officers await sentencing
In February, Lane, along with two other former officers, Tou Tao and Alexander Quang, were found guilty by a federal jury of involvement in Floyd’s death. No sentencing date has been set for Tao and Kuang.
During the trial, federal prosecutors argued that the three men knew from their training and from “basic human decency” that they were obligated to help Mr. Floyd when he begged for his life before collapsing limply under Chauvin’s knee.
Earlier in July, Chauvin was sentenced to 21 years in prison on federal charges of violating Floyd’s civil rights.
Chauvin was also convicted of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in a state trial in 2021. Under this sentence, he is serving a concurrent sentence of 22 and a half years.
In May, Lane pleaded guilty to charges of aiding and abetting manslaughter and agreed to sentence him to three years in prison. The trial of the other two officers is due to begin in January.