In the George Floyd case, a former Minneapolis officer has pleaded guilty.
Minnesota's attorney general said that Thomas Lane pleaded guilty in state court to a charge of second-degree manslaughter.
Minnesota's attorney general said that former Minneapolis police officer Thomas Lane pleaded guilty on Wednesday to second-degree manslaughter in the death of George Floyd in 2020.
Keith Ellison, the attorney general, said in a statement, "I am glad that Thomas Lane has taken responsibility for his part in Floyd's death." "His admission that he did something wrong is a big step toward putting the Floyd family, our community, and the whole country back together again."
Mr. Lane, age 39, and two other former officers, J. Alexander Kueng, age 28, and Tou Thao, age 36, were to stand trial on June 13 for second-degree unintentional murder and second-degree manslaughter in the death of Mr. Floyd.
In a separate case, the three former officers were found guilty of federal crimes in February because they didn't stop Derek Chauvin from killing Mr. Floyd on May 25, 2020, by putting his knee on his neck for more than nine minutes.
John Stiles, a spokesman for Mr. Ellison, said that Mr. Lane pleaded guilty to the state charge in front of Hennepin County District Court Judge Peter Cahill, who set Sept. 21 as the date for Lane's sentencing. He said that both state prosecutors and Mr. Lane's defense team agreed that he should spend three years in prison.
Mr. Stiles said that since the state dropped the second charge against Mr. Lane, the trial on June 13 will go on without him.
Mr. Stiles said, "We are still going full speed ahead with the trial for both charges against the other defendants."
In a phone interview, Mr. Lane's lawyer, Earl Gray, said that Mr. Lane, who has a new baby, "wanted to be a part of the child's life" and didn't want to risk losing the murder case.
"We decided to do that after a lot of soul-searching," Mr. Gray said about the guilty plea. It will be served at the same time as his federal sentence, for which no date has been set. Mr. Gray said that Mr. Lane would serve two years of the 36-month sentence.
In a statement released on Wednesday, lawyers for Mr. Floyd's family said that the guilty plea "brings the Floyd family another step closer to closure for George Floyd's horrible and historic murder."
The statement said, "We hope that this plea will help usher in a new era in which police officers understand that juries will hold them accountable just like they would any other citizen." "Maybe soon, officers won't have to put families through the pain of long court proceedings when the crimes are clear and obvious."
Last year, Mr. Chauvin was found guilty of murder and given a prison sentence of 22 and a half years.
After a clerk said Mr. Floyd bought cigarettes with a fake $20 bill, Mr. Lane and Mr. Kueng helped Mr. Chauvin hold Mr. Floyd down outside of a convenience store. Mr. Chauvin put his knee on Mr. Floyd's neck, and Mr. Chauvin's partner, Mr. Thao, kept onlookers away.
People all over the world protested against police violence and racial injustice after videos taken by bystanders outside the store in South Minneapolis went viral.
Mr. Ellison said that Mr. Lane's guilty plea was a "big deal" in the case.
"Today, I'm thinking about the victims, George Floyd, and his family again," he said. "Nothing can make Floyd come back. He should still be here with us."