Ex-cop pleads guilty to manslaughter in George Floyd killing

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – A former Minneapolis police officer pleaded guilty Wednesday to aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter in the killing of George Floyd.

As part of the plea agreement, the charges of aiding and abetting second-degree murder against Thomas Lane will be dropped. Lane and former Officers J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao were found federally charged with willfully violating Floyd’s rights during the period of house arrest that resulted in his death.

The guilty plea comes a week before the two-year anniversary of Floyd’s murder on May 25, 2020. Floyd, 46, died after police officer Derek Chauvin pinned him to the ground with his knee on his neck. Floyd when this person repeatedly said he couldn’t breathe. The murder, captured on video widely viewed by bystanders, has sparked protests in Minneapolis and around the globe as part of a reckoning about racial injustice.

Lane and Kueng helped Floyd, who was in handcuffs. Lane held Floyd’s feet down and Kueng knelt on Floyd’s back. Thao did not allow people around to interfere during 9 1/2 minutes of being controlled.

State attorneys general and Lane agreed to a recommended sentence of three years – below state sentencing guidelines – and prosecutors agreed to allow him to serve that sentence at the same time. with any federal sentence and in federal prison. He has yet to be convicted in the federal case.

Lane, who is white, told Judge Peter Cahill he understood the agreement. When asked how he would beg, he said: “Guilty, your honor.”

Attorney General Keith Ellison, whose office is prosecuting the case, released a statement saying he was pleased Lane accepted responsibility for his role in Floyd’s death.

Ellison said: “Acknowledging he did something wrong is an important step toward healing the Floyd family, our community and the nation. “While accountability is not justice, it is a pivotal moment in this case and a necessary resolution in our continuing journey to justice.”

Lane’s attorney, Earl Grey, said he and Lane would have no comment. Lane was not arrested and a presence investigation was requested. He is expected to be sentenced on September 21 on state charges.

The hearing was streamed online via Zoom to members of Floyd’s family. Their lawyers later released a statement, saying Lane’s guilty plea “reflects a certain degree of responsibility,” but it only came after Lane, Kueng and Thao were found federally convicted.

“Hopefully this plea will help usher in a new era where officers understand that a jury will hold them accountable, just like any other citizen,” said family attorney Ben Crump , said Jeff Storms and Antonio Romanucci. “Perhaps it won’t be long before officers ask families to endure the pain of lengthy court proceedings where their offense is clear and obvious.”

Chauvin pleaded guilty last year to federal charges of violating Floyd’s civil rights and faces a federal sentence of 20 to 25 years. The former officer who was previously convicted by the state of murder and manslaughter is now serving a 22-and-a-half year sentence in the state case.

Lane’s plea comes a week as the country focuses on the deaths of 10 black people in Buffalo, New York, at the hands of an 18-year-old white man who committed a racist act. race, live-streamed Saturday’s shooting in a supermarket.

Lane, Kueng and Thao were found guilty of federal charges in February, following a month-long trial that focused on the training of officers and the culture of the police department. All three were found guilty of depriving Floyd of medical care, and Thao and Kueng were also found guilty of failing to intervene to stop Chauvin in the murder.

After their federal convictions, there was the question of whether a state trial would proceed. At a hearing in April in state court, prosecutors revealed that they had offered plea agreements to all three men, but they were turned down. At the time, Gray said it was difficult for the defense to negotiate as the three still didn’t know what their federal sentence would look like.

According to state sentencing guidelines, a person with no criminal record would face less than three-and-a-half to four years and nine months in prison for negligent second-degree manslaughter. assuming 4 years. Lane’s proposed three-year sentence, which still has to be approved by a judge, would be less. Prosecutors made notice in 2020 that they planned to seek longer sentences for Lane, Kueng and Thao.

If Lane is found guilty of aiding and abetting second-degree murder, he faces 12 and a half years in prison.

“It was a very sweet deal,” said John Baker, a former defense attorney who teaches aspiring police officers at St. Cloud State, talk about Lane’s deal. “I don’t know how sweeter the state could be in an offer for a plea deal.”

Baker said a guilty plea makes sense because Lane is considering more time if convicted at trial, and potentially in federal prison either way. He said he assumed that Thao and Kueng would also make the same offer, and he wouldn’t be surprised if at least one of them decided to accept.

Thao’s attorney, Robert Paule, was in the courtroom for Lane’s trial. When asked if his client pleaded guilty, he replied “No comment.”

Kueng’s attorney did not immediately return phone messages seeking comment.

Without any further pleas, Kueng, who is black, and Thao, who is Hmong-American, are still scheduled to go to trial in June on state charges. They are still free on the bond while they are waiting for the trial.

https://www.wfla.com/news/national/ex-cop-pleads-guilty-to-manslaughter-in-george-floyd-killing/ Ex-cop pleads guilty to manslaughter in George Floyd killing

Alley Einstein

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