Ex-cop sentenced for violating Floyd’s civil rights in his killing
ST. PAUL, Minn. — A federal judge sentenced former Minneapolis police Officer Thomas Lane to 2½ years in prison Thursday for violating George Floyd’s civil rights, calling Lane’s role in the restraint that killed Floyd “a very serious offense in which a life was lost” but handing down a sentence well below what prosecutors and Floyd’s family sought.
Judge Paul Magnuson’s sentence was just slightly more than the 27 months Lane’s attorney had requested, while prosecutors had asked for at least 5¼ years in prison — the low end of federal guidelines.
Lane was convicted this year of depriving Floyd of his right to medical care.
Lane, who is white, held Floyd’s legs as Officer Derek Chauvin pinned Floyd’s neck with his knee for nearly 9½ minutes on May 25, 2020. Bystander video of Floyd, who was Black, pleading that he could not breathe sparked protests in Minneapolis and around the world in a reckoning over racial injustice over policing.
Floyd family members had asked Magnuson to give Lane the stiffest sentence possible, with brother Philonise Floyd rejecting the idea that Lane deserved any mercy for asking his colleagues twice if George Floyd should be shifted from his stomach to his side.
“Officer Lane did not intervene in one way or another,” he said.
Prosecutor Manda Sertich had also argued for a higher sentence, saying that Lane “chose not to act” when he could have saved a life.
Magnuson told Lane the “fact that you did not get up and remove Mr. Chauvin when Mr. Floyd became unconscious is a violation of the law.” But he also held up 145 letters backing Lane, saying he’d never received so many on a defendant’s behalf.
Lane testified at trial that he didn’t realize how dire Floyd’s condition was until paramedics turned him over.
Chauvin pleaded guilty in December to a federal civil rights charge in Floyd’s killing and to another civil rights charge in an unrelated case involving a Black teenager. That resulted in a 21-year sentence from Magnuson.
Chauvin was also convicted of second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in state court and is serving a 22 ½-year state sentence. Both sentences are being served simultaneously.
Supreme Court: The Supreme Court won’t allow the Biden administration to implement a policy that prioritizes deportation of people in the country illegally who pose the greatest public safety risk.
The court’s order Thursday leaves the policy frozen.
The vote was 5-4 with conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett joining liberal Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Ketanji Brown Jackson in saying they would have allowed the Biden administration to put in place the guidance.
The court also announced it would hear arguments in the case, saying they would be in late November.
The justices were acting on the administration’s emergency request to the court following conflicting decisions by federal appeals courts over a September directive from the Homeland Security Department that paused deportation unless individuals had committed acts of terrorism, espionage or “egregious threats to public
Migrant deaths: Two men were indicted Wednesday in the case of a hot, airless semitrailer found last month with 53 dead or dying migrants in San Antonio, officials said.
A federal grand jury in San Antonio indicted Homero Zamorano Jr., 46, and Christian Martinez, 28, both of Pasadena, Texas, on counts of transporting and conspiring to transport migrants illegally resulting in death; and transporting and conspiring to transport migrants illegally resulting in serious injury.
Both are in federal custody without bond. Conviction on the death counts could result in life sentences, but the Attorney General’s office could allow prosecutors to seek death penalties.
Italy politics: Italy is headed for an early election after its president accepted Premier Mario Draghi’s resignation Thursday.
The demise of Draghi’s coalition in the eurozone’s
third-largest economy and the uncertainty of what Italian voters will decide at the polls have dealt a destabilizing blow to the country and Europe amid rising inflation and Russia’s war in Ukraine.
Dissolving Parliament “is always the last choice to make, especially if, as in this moment, there are important tasks to carry to completion,’’ President Sergio Mattarella said.
Mattarella’s office said the election will be held Sept. 25. Draghi will remain in a caretaker role.
US polio case: An unvaccinated young adult from New York recently contracted polio, the first U.S. case in nearly a decade, health officials said Thursday.
Officials said the patient, who lives in Rockland County, had developed paralysis. The person developed symptoms a month ago and did not recently travel outside the country, county health officials said.
It appears the patient had a vaccine-derived strain
of the virus, perhaps from someone who got live vaccine — available in other countries, but not the U.S. — and spread it, officials said.
The person is no longer contagious, but investigators are trying to figure out how the infection occurred and if others were exposed.
India president: A woman who hails from a minority ethnic community was chosen Thursday as India’s new president, a largely ceremonial position.
Droupadi Murmu, a leader from India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, was elected by the Indian Parliament and state legislatures in voting held Monday, making her the first president from one of the country’s tribes and the second woman to hold the position.
She will be formally sworn in Monday.
Murmu, 64, was governor of Jharkhand state from 2015-2021, is a member of the Santal ethnic minority, one of India’s largest tribal groups. She was a teacher
before entering politics.
La. abortion ban ruling: Abortion clinics in Louisiana can continue operating while a lawsuit challenging the state’s near total ban on abortions is resolved, a state judge ruled Thursday.
The preliminary injunction issued by Judge Donald Johnson in Baton Rouge is the latest development amid court challenges to state trigger laws crafted in anticipation of the U.S. Supreme Court overturning the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that established abortion rights.
A statewide abortion ban has taken effect twice and been blocked twice since the Supreme Court’s June 24 ruling.
Johnson’s new ruling allows clinics to continue providing abortion procedures while a lawsuit filed by a north Louisiana abortion clinic and others continues. The order gives attorneys on both sides 30 days to develop plans for a trial on whether the law should be permanently blocked.