Thomas Lane: What to know about former Minneapolis officer facing federal charges in George Floyd’s killing

All former officers involved with Black man’s murder are accused of failing to render medical aid

Alex Woodward
New York
Monday 24 January 2022 03:17

On 21 April, 2021, former Minneapolis Police Department officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of murdering George Floyd on Memorial Day in 2020, a death that sparked a wave of international protests against police violence.

A federal jury trial now underway will determine whether the three other now-former officers who were on the scene that day – Thomas Lane, J Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao – are guilty of violating Mr Floyd’s constitutional rights for failing to come to his aid. They have pleaded not guilty.

The men were indicted by a federal grand jury along with Chauvin last year; as part of a plea agreement, Chauvin must serve a minimum of 20 and a maximum of 25 years in prison.

None of the men appeared to try to stop Mr Chauvin, whose knee was pressed into Mr Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes as he cried out that he could not breathe. A federal indictment accuses the men of showing a “deliberate indifference” to his “serious medical needs”.

Mr Kueng, Mr Lane and Mr Thao are also facing a state trial on charges of aiding and abetting murder and manslaughter. That trial was slated to begin on 7 March but has now been moved to 13 June.

Thomas Lane

Mr Lane joined the Minneapolis Police Department in early 2019.

Three generations of men on his mother’s side of the family also served in the department, including his great-great-grandfather Michael Mealey, who was chief from 1911 to 1912, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

He previously served as a corrections officer at Hennepin County’s juvenile jail and as a probation officer with a residential program for juvenile offenders in Ramsey County.

Mr Kueng and Mr Lane were only on their third and fourth full-time shifts, respectively, when they responded to a 911 call that a man tried to use a counterfeit $20 bill at a convenience store. They were the first officers to encounter Mr Floyd.

Police body-mounted camera footage captured Mr Lane pulling a gun on Mr Floyd within 15 seconds after approaching him in a parked car.

Chauvin arrived on the scene a few minutes later with Mr Thao, as Mr Lane and Mr Kueng struggled with Mr Floyd – now handcuffed – inside a police car.

After Mr Floyd was placed face down on the ground, Mr Kueng knelt into Mr Floyd’s back while Mr Lane held his legs, according to evidence presented in Chauvin’s state trial.

Body-mounted video camera captured Mr Lane twice asking whether Mr Floyd should be turned on his side.

All former officers have been charged with failing to render medical aid to Mr Floyd. Mr Kueng and Mr Thao face a second count; Mr Lane has not been charged with a second count.

The men have pleaded not guilty.

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