All four cops involved in the death of George Floyd have been charged – including Thomas Lane. The ex-officer now faces 40+ years in prison after getting charged with aiding and abetting 2nd-degree murder.
Following the wave of peaceful protests (and violent police clashes) over the May 25 death of George Floyd at the hands of four Minneapolis police officers, former cop Thomas Lane, 37, was arrested for his involvement in the fatal arrest. Previously, ex-officer Derek Chauvin — the man identified as the one kneeling across George’s neck while he pleaded, “please, please, I can’t breathe – was charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder. and manslaughter. Now, Thomas Lane, who helped restrain George, has been charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison announced the charges in a June 3 press conference: “We’re here today because George Floyd is not here. He should be here. He should be alive but he’s not. Today I filed an amended complaint that charges former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin with murder in the second degree for the death of George Floyd. I believe the evidence available to us now supports the stronger charge of second-degree murder.” (Aiding and abetting second-degree murder is punishable by up to 40 years in prison while aiding and abetting manslaughter is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.)
“Second, today arrest warrants were issued for former Minneapolis police officers J. A. King, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao. Finally, I’d like to announce that today Hennepin County Attorney Michael Freeman and I have filed a complaint that charges police officer King, Lane and Thao with aiding and abetting murder in the second degree, a felony offense. I strongly believe that these developments are in the interests of justice for Mr. Floyd, his family, our community and our state.”
The death of George Floyd sparked a wave of demonstrations dubbed the “Fed Up-Rising.” Millions flooding the streets across the country demanding justice for George, while also calling for increased criminal justice reforms. As the country deals with the fallout of yet another black man killed by the police, here’s what you need to know about Thomas Lane.
1. He’s the grandson of a detective. Thomas Lane was one of the four police officers fired on May 26. He is a Twin Cities native, according to the Star Tribune. An anonymous relative described Thomas to the publication as “compassionate and amusing and insightful.” He was married in 2018, and excited to continue his family’s law enforcement legacy. His grandfather was Donald M. Mealey, a Minneapolis police detective who died in 2008 at 92. Other relatives also worked for the Minneapolis police. Thomas received his law enforcement license las August.
“He doesn’t have a bad bone in his body,” the relative told the Star Tribune of Lane. “This is just a terrible event and I feel bad for the lives lost and the Floyd family.”
2. He was one of the first officers on the scene. Officers Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng arrived at the Cup Foods around 8:08 pm after someone called 911 to report that a man bought merchandise with a counterfeit $20 bill, according to a criminal complaint filed by the Hennepin County Attorney. According to the document obtained by HollywoodLife, which details the final moments of George Floyd’s life, Lane and Keung approached George, who was seated in his car around the corner from the store.
3. Officer Lane was the one who put George in handcuffs. “As Officer Lane began speaking with Mr. Floyd, he pulled his gun out and pointed it at Mr. Floyd’s open window and directed Mr. Floyd to show his hands,” according to the criminal complaint. “When Mr. Floyd put his hands in the steering wheel, Lane put his gun back in its holster.” Officer Lane then ordered George out of the car, “put his hands on Mr. Floyd, and pulled him out of the car,” per the complaint. It was then when Officer Lane handcuffed George.
4. Officer Lane held George’s legs. MPD Officers Derek Chauvin and Tou Thoa arrived in a separate car around 8:14 pm. They “made several attempts” to get George into the backseat of squad car 320. During this incident, George “went to the ground face down and still handcuffed.” Officer Keung held George’s back while Officer Lane held the man’s legs.
5. He expressed concern during the arrest. George claimed he was claustrophobic as the officers were arresting him, and while standing outside of the cop car, “began staying and repeating that he could not breathe.” When George was on the ground and pleading for help, Officer Lane asked, “should we roll him on his side?” Officer Chauvin said, according to the complaint, “No, staying put where we got him.” Officer Lane then said, “I am worried about excited delirium of whatever.” Officer Chauvin said, per the complaint, “That’s why we have him on his stomach.” At 8:24 pm, George Floyd stopped moving. An ambulance with emergency medical personnel arrived to take George to a hospital. He was later pronounced dead at the Hennepin County Medical Center.