'Make it make sense': George Floyd's family slams 2.5 year jail term for Thomas Lane
Three Minneapolis police officers were found guilty in their federal hate crime trial on February 24, 2022, as the jury found J Alexander Kueng, Tou Thao, and Thomas Lane guilty of depriving George Floyd of his civil rights, and for not avoiding Floyd's death at the hands of Derek Chauvin. Chauvin, who was previously sentenced to 22.5 years in prison on state murder charges and 21 years on a separate federal charge of civil rights violation, is currently serving both sentences concurrently. On the other hand, Thomas Lane was sentenced to 2.5 years in prison on Thursday, July 21. Lane was the officer who was responsible for holding George Floyd's legs while Chauvin pinned his knee on Floyd's neck.
Judge Paul Magnuson finally held Lane responsible for George Floyd's death and called his role, "a very serious offense in which life was lost. The fact that you (Thomas Lane) did not get up and remove Mr Chauvin when Mr Floyd became unconscious is a violation of the law." Judge Magnuson said that the court received 145 letters in support of Lane, which is the most that they have ever received for a defendant. He continued, "It speaks loudly to this case." He explained that Lane was a rookie officer who joined the Minneapolis Police Department a few days prior to this incident. Instead of Lane, the judge placed the blame on the police department for sending a rookie officer on call.
Lane argued in the court that he should get less prison time because he did CPR on Floyd in the ambulance and asked Chauvin about flipping him over, as per reporter Jon Collins. It's also reported that Judge Magnuson denied two defense objections that were made in hopes of reducing Lane's prison time. On the other hand, the prosecutors argued that former officer Lane not only failed to provide aid to Floyd but "he didn’t try to correct his failures. He tried to cover them up." They described Lane's inactions as a "catastrophic lapse" that led to someone's death and asked the judge for 63-78 months. The judge, however, believed that Lane should anyhow get less prison time due to his minimal role in the crime. Floyd's family had some comments to make about the sentence that Lane received.
George Floyd's family reacts to Thomas Lane's sentence
George Floyd's girlfriend, Courteney Ross, after hearing the sentence said, "Mr. Lane. I don’t think you’re a bad guy. I think you’re one man in a system that perpetuates ideologies of hate. She tells Lane he needs to "pay his dues" but should find the "hero in him when he gets out." Philonise Floyd, George Floyd's brother, called the sentencing "insulting". He said, "Officer Lane did not intervene in one way or another. To me, I think this whole criminal system needs to be torn down and rebuilt. I ask, where is the humanity? Not one officer apologized for his role on May 25, when George’s life was taken from him." On the other hand, Lane chose not to comment at all times.
George Floyd's nephew Brandon Williams started with, "These guys are murderers." He then continues, "Make it make sense. He stood by and did nothing as my brother was murdered. The world saw it. He should be held fully accountable.” Prosecutor Manda Sertich further also added that Lane was trained and knew Floyd needed medical help but didn't do anything: His "deliberate indifference" led directly to Floyd's death. Lane 'chose not to act'. She continued, "There has to be a line where blindly following a senior officer's lead, even for a rookie officer, is not acceptable." Judge Paul Magnuson has set the date of surrender for Thomas Lane on October 4, 2022.