A former Minneapolis police officer pleaded guilty Wednesday to manslaughter in the death of George Floyd, a Black man whose police killing prompted worldwide protests against systemic racism.
The ex-officer, Thomas Lane, entered a guilty plea to a state charge of aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison announced Wednesday.
As part of the plea deal a charge of aiding and abetting second-degree murder was dismissed, a spokesperson for Ellison’s office said.
The state and defense jointly recommended to the court that Lane be sentenced to three years, the spokesperson said. His sentencing is set for Sept. 21.
“Today my thoughts are once again with the victims, George Floyd and his family. Nothing will bring Floyd back. He should still be with us today,” Ellison said in a statement.
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“I am pleased Thomas Lane has accepted responsibility for his role in Floyd’s death. His acknowledgment he did something wrong is an important step toward healing the wounds of the Floyd family, our community, and the nation,” he continued. “While accountability is not justice, this is a significant moment in this case and a necessary resolution on our continued journey to justice.”
He offered no other comments, saying the state is preparing for the June 13 trial of former Minneapolis Police Officers J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao on charges of second-degree unintentional murder and second-degree manslaughter.
NBC News has reached out to Lane’s attorney for comment.
All three officers were convicted in a federal trial in February of violating Floyd’s civil rights.Additionally, Kueng and Thao were convicted of failing to intervene and stop fellow Officer Derek Chauvin from using excessive force.
Floyd, 46, died May 25, 2020, after a confrontation with Minneapolis police during which Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck for 9 ½ minutes. His killing sparked demonstrations, with protesters decrying police brutality.
During testimony in the federal trial, Lane choked back tears and testified in February that he tried to assist paramedics after he was unable to find Floyd’s pulse.
He said he did chest compressions on Floyd and when paramedics arrived to load Floyd into an ambulance, he offered to ride with them to the hospital. When asked why, he said, “He didn’t look good,” adding, “I felt with the situation, they might need a hand.”
Chauvin was found guilty of second and third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in April 2021 in Floyd’s death. He was sentenced to 22.5 years in prison on those state charges.
Chauvin also pleaded guilty last year to a federal charge of violating Floyd’s civil rights. He faces a federal sentence of 20 to 25 years.