Ex-cop gets 2 1/2 years on federal charge for role in killing of George Floyd

<p>FILE - This June 3, 2020, file photo, provided by the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office in Minnesota, shows Thomas Lane is shown. Former Minneapolis police Officer Thomas Lane is hoping for a sentence Thursday, July 21, 2022, that could let him go free after as little as two years in prison for his role in the killing of George Floyd. (Hennepin County Sheriff's Office via AP, file)</p>

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FILE - This June 3, 2020, file photo, provided by the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office in Minnesota, shows Thomas Lane is shown. Former Minneapolis police Officer Thomas Lane is hoping for a sentence Thursday, July 21, 2022, that could let him go free after as little as two years in prison for his role in the killing of George Floyd. (Hennepin County Sheriff's Office via AP, file)

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Former Minneapolis police Officer Thomas Lane has been sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison on a federal civil rights charge for his role in the killing of George Floyd.

U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson sentenced Lane on Thursday for his February conviction of depriving Floyd of medical care as he lay dying under Officer Derek Chauvin’s knee in May 2020.

“Mr. Lane this is a very serious offense, in which a life was lost,” Magnuson said. “The fact that you did not get up and remove Mr. Chauvin when Mr. Floyd became unconscious is a violation of the law.”

But Magnuson also held up 145 letters of support for Lane — he said he had never received so many on behalf of a defendant — and faulted the Minneapolis Police Department for sending him out with another rookie on the call that ended with Floyd’s killing.

Lane, who has been free on bond, didn’t speak at the hearing. He declined to comment as he left the court.

Magnuson ordered him to surrender to U.S. Marshals on Oct. 4.

The killing of Floyd, who was Black, sparked protests in Minneapolis and around the world over racial injustice in policing, and launched a national reckoning on race.

Lane, who is white, held Floyd’s legs as Chauvin pinned Floyd for nearly 9 1/2 minutes. Two other officers, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao, were also convicted of violating Floyd’s civil rights and will be sentenced later.

Federal prosecutors had asked for a sentence of up to 6 1/2 years, in line with federal guidelines. Lane’s attorney asked for a little over two years, arguing that Lane was the least culpable of the officers in part because he had asked his colleagues twice whether Floyd should be turned on his side.