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Thomas Lane volunteered to help Somali youth and convicted of obstructing justice before he was hired

Sunday June 7, 2020

Thomas Lane is one of the four former Minneapolis police officers that have been charged with aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter for George Floyd’s death, which occurred in police custody.

Lane was fired after a video of Floyd’s death showed then-Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on the back of Floyd’s neck for seven minutes as Floyd — handcuffed —told him and other officers that he couldn’t breathe and eventually became unresponsive.

Protests erupted around the country and the four police officers on the scene — Chauvin, Tou Thao, Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng — have since been fired and arrested.

Here’s what you need to know:

Lane volunteered to help Somali youth, according to CNN

According to CNN, Lane attended the University of Minnesota and earned a bachelor’s degree in criminology in 2016. He had many jobs, including as a juvenile corrections officer in Hennepin County, assistant probation officer, Home Depot salesman and a server and bartender at various restaurants.

Lane also volunteered to help elementary Somali youth in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood, helping tutor them in science, math and other activities, CNN reported.

According to local TV station ABC-7, Lane joined the police at the age of 35 and became an official police officer last December; he also had no complaints in his file. Lane was on the police force for only four days when he responded to the call; Lane’s attorney, Earl Gray, told CNN that Lane was “doing everything he thought he was supposed to do as a four-day police officer.”

Lane was convicted of property damage and traffic violations before he was hired as a police officer

According to Minnesota court records, Lane was convicted of several crimes before he was ever hired as a police officer. Here is a list of some of what he was convicted of:

10/24/2001: Obstructing justice and the criminal damage of property
4/27/2007: A petty misdemeanor related to noise levels at a party/gathering
6/17/2015: Obstructing traffic with his vehicle

In 2004, 2016 and 2018, he was also convicted of traffic violations (speeding, and two charges of parking overtime, respectively). Some of the charges which were dismissed against Lane include unlawful assembly and disobeying police in 2001 and disorderly conduct in 2007.

via Minnesota Trial Court Public Access

Lane tried to question Chauvin but was ignored, according to the complaint

Lane and J. Alexander Kueng showed up to the scene and spoke to the employees who had called the police, who told them the man who “passed the counterfeit $20 bill was parked in a car around the corner,” according to the criminal complaint.

Body camera footage showed Lane approach the driver’s side of Floyd’s car where he began speaking to Floyd, according to the complaint. As Keung spoke to the passenger in Floyd’s car, Lane pulled a gun on and pointed at Floyd, telling him to show his hands; after Floyd put his hands back on the steering wheel, Lane reholstered his gun.

Lane ordered Floyd out of the car and handcuffed him, before walking him to the sidewalk and telling Floyd to sit down. Floyd sat down and said, “Thank you man.” Lane then asked Floyd for his name, identification and pointed out that Lane had “foam at the edges of his mouth” and asked Floyd if he was “on anything.” Lane then told Floyd that he was arresting him for passing counterfeit currency.

Lane and Kueng then stood Floyd up and walked him to the squad car when Floyd stiffened and fell to the ground, telling officers “that he was not resisting but did not want to get in the back seat and was claustrophobic.”

via Minnesota Attorney General\’s Office   

It is after that when Chauvin and Thao arrived on the scene.

Kueng and Chauvin helped pull Floyd out of the car from the passenger side and Lane held Floyd’s legs once he was on the ground. Chauvin held his knee on Floyd’s neck. The complaint against Lane describes the following exchange:

Lane asks Chauvin, “Should we roll him on his side?”
Chauvin says, “No, staying put where we got him.”
Lane then says, “I am worried about excited delirium or whatever.”
Chauvin responds, “That’s why we have him on his stomach.”

According to the complaint, Lane “took no actions to assist Mr. Floyd, to change his position, or to reduce the force the officers were using against Mr. Floyd.”

Lane was charged with two counts of aiding and abetting second-degree murder, one unintentional and one with culpable negligence, according to his criminal complaint. Earl Gray, Lane’s lawyer, said Lane had no choice but to follow Chauvin’s orders since that was a training officer and he also said that the prosecutor’s case against Lane was “extremely weak,” the Star Tribune reported.

Gray asked for Lane’s bail to be $50,000, pointing to his immediate cooperation in giving a statement to investigators and his attempts to question Chauvin, according to CNBC.

Lane’s bail was ultimately placed at $1 million (or $750,000 with conditions), according to the Star Tribune.


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