Thomas Kiernan Lane was born in Saint Paul, Minnesota, United States. He did not graduate from high school but he got his General Educational Development (GED) diploma and earned an associate degree from Century College, a two-year community and technical college in White Bear Lake, Minnesota.
As a volunteer for nationally recognized Somali nonprofit organization Ka Joog, Lane tutored young Somali refugees in Cedar Riverside, Minneapolis, Minnesota in science and math activities. While the world was battling against the new coronavirus (COVID-19) in 2020, he lost his job as a police officer along with a fellow rookie cop and two veterans.
The four cops were involved in the fatal arrest of George Floyd, a black man originally from Houston, Texas, USA. Floyd died almost 90 minutes after the arrest in Minneapolis.
On May 25, 2020, Lane, Chauvin, Thao and Kueng, responded to a report from an employee at Cup Foods at 3759 Chicago Avenue in Minneapolis claiming that a customer bought cigarettes with a counterfeit $20 bill. It was Lane’s fourth day on the police force.
It was Lane and Kueng who arrived at the scene first and approached the parked car of Floyd, who matched the suspect’s descriptions. Chauvin and Thao followed minutes later in a separate squad car.
Lane pointed his gun at Floyd’s open window and directed the black man to show his hands but the cop put his gun back in its holster after the suspect put his hands on the steering wheel. It was Lane who handcuffed Floyd after ordering him out of his car.
After pulling Floyd out of his car, Lane ordered the suspect to sit on the ground and asked for his name and identification. The cop explained to the suspect that he was arrested for passing counterfeit currency.
While Chauvin was kneeling on Floyd’s neck, Lane was holding the arrestee’s legs. Lane said he was worried about excited delirium but Chauvin ignored it.
When the Minneapolis Police Department fired Lane, he was still in his probationary period. Here are 13 more things about him:
- From 2000 to 2017, he held at least 10 jobs. He worked as a laborer, a telemarketer, a security guard, a server and bartender at different restaurants throughout Minneapolis and as a Home Depot sales associate.
- From 2001 to 2018, he had several traffic violations including speeding, obstructing traffic and parking-meter violations. In October 2001, he was charged with two counts of obstructing legal process, damaging property, unlawful assembly and disorderly conduct and was convicted of one count of obstructing legal process and one charge of damaging property.
- In March 2007, he faced misdemeanor charges of hosting a noisy party or gathering and disorderly conduct and was found guilty of the noisy-gathering charge.
- In 2008, his grandfather Donald M. Mealey, a Minneapolis police detective, died at the age of 92.
- In 2016, he earned his bachelor’s degree in sociology of law, criminology and deviance from the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul.
- From 2017 to 2018, he worked as an assistant probation officer at a residential treatment facility for adolescent boys and as a correctional officer at the Hennepin County juvenile jail.
- In 2018, he got married.
- In January 2019, he was accepted to the police academy.
- On February 19, 2019, he was hired by the Minneapolis Police Department as a police cadet.
- In December 2019, he started working as a police officer.
- He was 37 years old when he was involved in Floyd’s fatal arrest on May 25, 2020.
- On February 24, 2022, 12 jurors found him, Thao and Kueng guilty of depriving Floyd of his civil rights by showing deliberate indifference to Floyd’s medical needs as Chauvin knelt on Floyd on May 25, 2020. He was represented by Earl Gray.
- On July 21, 2022, he was sentenced to 2.5 years in federal prison. Judge Paul A. Magnuson recommended the Federal Bureau of Prisons place him in the federal prison in Duluth, Minnesota.