One of three Minneapolis policemen who watched fellow officer Derek Chauvin kill George Floyd by kneeling on his neck has pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting manslaughter in the 2020 case.
By entering a plea on Wednesday, now-former officer Thomas Lane avoided an upcoming trial on the more serious charge of aiding and abetting second-degree murder.
He agreed to a sentence of three years in prison, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported. A sentencing hearing has yet to be scheduled.
"His acknowledgment he did something wrong is an important step toward healing the wounds of the Floyd family, our community and the nation," Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison said in a statement.
Under the plea agreement, Lane will serve three years in a federal prison, a court spokesperson said.
Lane's attorney, Earl Gray, said he and Lane would have no comment. Lane was not taken into custody and a pre-sentence investigation was ordered.
He is scheduled to be sentenced September 21 on the state charge.
Chauvin, who is white, was sentenced to 22-1/2 years in prison last year after his conviction on charges of murdering Floyd, a Black man suspected of passing a counterfeit bill.
The two other former officers involved in George Floyd's arrest, Tou Thao and J Alexander Kueng, are scheduled to face trial in June on both of state charges, according to online Hennepin County Court records.
In February, Lane, Thao and Kueng were convicted on federal charges of depriving Floyd of his civil rights by failing to give aid to him when he showed signs of distress.
He was pinned under Chauvin's knee for more than nine minutes. Chauvin has pleaded guilty in federal court to charges he violated Floyd's civil rights.
The guilty plea comes a week before the two-year anniversary of Floyd’s May 25, 2020, killing.