MINNEAPOLIS — On Wednesday morning, in reaction to the announcement that former Minneapolis Police Officer Thomas Lane pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of aiding and abetting manslaughter, the Floyd family released this statement:
"Today's guilty plea by former officer Thomas Lane brings the Floyd family another step towards closure for the horrific and historic murder of George Floyd. While this plea reflects a certain level of accountability, it comes only after Mr. Lane was already convicted by a federal jury on a related charge. Attorney General Keith Ellison, all of the state and federal prosecutors, the brave men and women who served on the state and federal juries, and the community compelled this result. These individuals and many more should be commended for their efforts leading towards today. Hopefully, this plea helps usher in a new era where officers understand that juries will hold them accountable, just as they would any other citizen. Perhaps soon, officers will not require families to endure the pain of lengthy court proceedings where their criminal acts are obvious and apparent. It is equally critical that the municipalities who are responsible for employing, training, and supervising their officers take their duties to the community to heart, and hold their own officers accountable before a criminal court is required to do so. While today is a step in the right direction, we only need to look to the recent and tragic killing of Amir Locke to understand that the City of Minneapolis has a long journey ahead to regain the trust of its citizenry."
The three year deal that Lane agreed to take did not come as a surprise to Professor Rachel Moran at the University of St. Thomas.
"The three year sentence some people --of course-- will think it's much too low, other people will think he wasn't culpable, the way I see it is that he's cutting his losses," Moran said.
That three year sentence, per the deal, is to be served concurrently with the yet-to-be-determined federal sentence.
"I think is something that feels manageable to him, and for the state, it feels like it's still a victory, an admission of guilt," Moran said. "It's still some prison time, but most people view him as the least culpable officer."
In reaction to Lane's attorney's statement about making this decision so Lane can avoid "not being part of his child's life," the organization Communities United Against Police Brutality said, "we need to remember that Mr. Lane's actions deprived Mr. Floyd of being part of the life of his daughter, Gianna."
Moran says we still have yet to hear from Lane himself.
"Of course I'm not pretending to get into Thomas Lane's mind but that's more about taking the safest route available," Moran said. " When you know something bad is certain to happen, than it is about, 'I'm horribly sorry I did this, and I want to express my guilt.'"