ST. PAUL, Minn.—A former Minneapolis police officer who is one of four ex-officers convicted of violating George Floyd’s civil rights is scheduled to be sentenced this week.
Prosecutors have asked a federal judge to sentence Thomas Lane to between 5 1/4 to 6 1/2 years in prison on Thursday for his role in the restraint that killed Floyd on May 25, 2020. His attorney is seeking 27 months.
Lane, J. Alexander Kueng, and Tou Thao were convicted in February of depriving Floyd of his right to medical care as the 46-year-old man was pinned under then-Officer Derek Chauvin’s knee for 9 1/2 minutes while handcuffed and facedown on the street. Kueng knelt on Floyd’s back, Lane held his legs and Thao kept bystanders back.
Kueng and Thao were also convicted of failing to intervene to stop Chauvin in the killing. Lane, who twice asked his fellow officers whether they should turn Floyd onto his side, did not face that charge.
Prosecutors have recommended that Keung and Thao get less than Chauvin got, but “substantially higher” sentences than what Lane will get. They have not made specific recommendations.
Judge Paul Magnuson, who presided at the three officers’ trial, also scheduled a hearing Friday on objections by Kueng and Thao to how recommended sentences under the federal sentencing guidelines were calculated in their presentence reports.
Thao’s attorney, Robert Paule, is seeking a sentence of two years. The recommendation from Kueng’s attorney, Thomas Plunkett, remains sealed.
Lane’s attorney, Earl Gray, has asked for 27 months, which if granted would let Lane go free after two years. That’s about when Lane would become eligible for release on his recommended state sentence in a plea agreement on a state charge of aiding and abetting manslaughter. Sentencing in that case is set for Sept. 21.
Magnuson earlier this month sentenced Chauvin to 21 years in prison for civil rights violations in Floyd’s killing and in the 2017 restraint of a 14-year-old. That was on the low end of what prosecutors had sought.
Magnuson sharply criticized Chauvin for his actions in pinning Floyd as he gasped for breath and eventually went limp, calling them “simply wrong” and “offensive.” He also told Chauvin that he “absolutely destroyed the lives of three young officers by taking command of the scene.”
Kueng and Thao are set to go on trial on state charges in October.