One of the officers charged in George Floyd’s killing was hired despite having a criminal record and slew of traffic violations
Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office
- Before he was hired as a Minneapolis police officer, Thomas Lane collected a laundry list of criminal charges and traffic citations, according to records obtained by Insider.
- Lane was fired on May 26, one day after George Floyd was killed in police custody. Lane has since been charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.
- Lane, 37, was only a week into his full-time career with the department when his training officer was filmed kneeling on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes as he begged for help.
- Lane’s lawyer said he expressed concern about his training officer’s handling of Floyd’s arrest.
Before he was hired as a Minneapolis police officer, Thomas Lane worked a variety of jobs in the service industry and had a laundry list of criminal charges and traffic citations, according to records obtained by Insider.
Lane, who started as a police cadet in 2019, was only on his fourth shift as a full-time officer on May 25 when Derek Chauvin knelt on George Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes, his attorney said.
Lane, 37, is one of the three other officers who were there when Floyd was killed. He now faces charges of aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter. He was still on probation with the department when he was fired on May 26.
In court on Thursday, attorneys for Lane and his colleague J. Alexander Kueng — who was also a rookie with the department — attempted to humanize their clients, putting a majority of the blame on Chauvin, who was their training officer.
Charging papers indicated that during Floyd’s arrest, Lane twice asked whether they should roll Floyd onto his side but was told no.
Earl Gray, Lane’s attorney, argued during a bail hearing on Thursday that his client had very little choice but to obey his senior officer. “What was [Lane] supposed to do … go up to Mr. Chauvin and grab him and throw him off?” Gray said in court, according to the Star Tribune.
The newspaper reported: “Lane previously worked as a juvenile counselor at a few ‘juvenile places’ in the Twin Cities and once received a community service award from Mayor Jacob Frey and Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo for volunteering with children, Gray told the court.”
Lane entered civil service relatively late in his career
Public records show that Lane bounced among a variety of industries before becoming a full-time police officer in his mid-30s.
Lane, who left high school before graduating, held at least 10 jobs from 2000 to 2017, according to a personnel file released by the Minneapolis Police Department.
In addition to pursuing a GED and then a college degree, Lane spent these years working as a laborer, a telemarketer, a server, a bartender, a security guard, and a sales associate.
In 2017 and 2018, he worked as a juvenile correctional officer and assistant probation officer, according to his résumé, which was included in the file.
State court records show that from 2001 to 2018, he also racked up more than a dozen criminal charges and traffic citations. They show that he was convicted of seven total charges.
While the online court database doesn’t include the incident reports behind the criminal complaints, it does indicate the nature of the charges and their results.
Four of the charges were related to traffic violations, including speeding and obstructing traffic. Two were parking-meter violations.
In several instances, Lane also faced criminal charges.
In October 2001, when Lane was 18, he was charged with two counts of obstructing legal process, damaging property, unlawful assembly, and disorderly conduct. He was convicted of one count of obstructing legal process and one charge of damaging property.
Almost six years later, in March 2007, Lane faced misdemeanor charges of hosting a noisy party or gathering and disorderly conduct. He was found guilty of the noisy-gathering charge.
In Lane’s application to be a police cadet, sections that included his criminal and traffic history, as well as whether he had been fired from any jobs, were redacted.
Lane is being held on an unconditional bail of $1 million or $750,000 with conditions.