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Ex-Minneapolis officer pleads guilty in George Floyd killing

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Ex-Minneapolis officer pleads guilty in George Floyd killing

By AMY FORLITI, STEVE KARNOWSKI and MOHAMED IBRAHIM

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A former Minneapolis police officer pleaded guilty Wednesday to a state charge of aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter in the killing of George Floyd, admitting that he intentionally helped restrain the Black man in a way that created an unreasonable risk and caused his death.

As part of Thomas Lane’s plea agreement, a more serious count of aiding and abetting second-degree unintentional murder will be dismissed. Lane and former Officers J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao have already been convicted on federal counts of willfully violating Floyd’s rights. While they have yet to be sentenced on the federal charges, Lane’s change of plea means he will avoid what could have been a lengthy state sentence if he was convicted of murder.

The guilty plea comes a week before the two-year anniversary of Floyd’s May 25, 2020, killing. Floyd, 46, died after Officer Derek Chauvin, who is white, pinned him to the ground with a knee on Floyd’s neck as Floyd repeatedly said he couldn’t breathe. The killing, captured on widely viewed bystander video, sparked protests in Minneapolis and around the globe as part of a reckoning over racial injustice.

Lane and Kueng helped restrain Floyd, who was handcuffed. Lane held down Floyd’s legs and Kueng knelt on Floyd’s back. Thao kept bystanders from intervening during the 9 1/2-minute restraint.

All three are free on bond; the state trial scheduled for June is expected to proceed for Kueng, who is Black, and Thao, who is Hmong American.

Lane is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 21.

In his plea agreement, Lane admitted that he knew from his training that restraining Floyd in that way created a serious risk of death, and that he heard Floyd say he couldn’t breathe, knew Floyd fell silent, had no pulse and appeared to have lost consciousness.

The plea agreement says Lane knew Floyd should have been rolled onto his side — and evidence shows he asked twice if that should be done — but he continued to assist in the restraint despite the risk. Lane agreed the restraint was “unreasonable under the circumstances and constituted an unlawful use of force.”

The state and Lane’s attorneys agreed to a recommended sentence of three years — which is below state sentencing guidelines — and prosecutors agreed to allow him to serve that penalty at the same time as any federal sentence, and in a federal prison. One legal expert said this would appeal to Lane because he would have less chance of being incarcerated with people he had arrested.

Lane, who is white, told Judge Peter Cahill that he understood the agreement. When asked how he would plead, he said: “Guilty, your honor.”

Attorney General Keith Ellison, whose office prosecuted the case, issued a statement saying he was pleased that Lane accepted responsibility.

“His acknowledgment he did something wrong is an important step toward healing the wounds of the Floyd family, our community, and the nation,” Ellison said. “While accountability is not justice, this is a significant moment in this case and a necessary resolution on our continued journey to justice.”

Lane’s attorney, Earl Gray, said in a statement that Lane did not want to risk a lengthy prison sentence if convicted of murder, so he agreed to plead guilty to manslaughter.

“He has a newborn baby and did not want to risk not being part of the child’s life,” Gray said.

Wednesday’s hearing was streamed over Zoom for Floyd’s family members. Their attorneys issued a statement afterward, saying Lane’s plea “reflects a certain level of accountability,” but that it came only after his federal conviction.

“Hopefully, this plea helps usher in a new era where officers understand that juries will hold them accountable, just as they would any other citizen,” family attorneys Ben Crump, Jeff Storms and Antonio Romanucci said. “Perhaps soon, officers will not require families to endure the pain of lengthy court proceedings where their criminal acts are obvious and apparent.”

Chauvin pleaded guilty last year to a federal charge of violating Floyd’s civil rights and faces a federal sentence ranging from 20 to 25 years. The former officer earlier was convicted of state charges of murder and manslaughter is currently serving 22 1/2 years in the state case.

Lane’s plea comes during a week when the country is focused on the deaths of 10 Black people in Buffalo, New York, at the hands of an 18-year-old white man, who carried out the racist, livestreamed shooting Saturday in a supermarket.

Lane, Kueng and Thao were convicted of federal charges in February, after a monthlong trial that focused on the officers’ training and the culture of the police department. All three were convicted of depriving Floyd of his right to medical care and Thao and Kueng were also convicted of failing to intervene to stop Chauvin during the killing.

After their federal conviction, there was a question as to whether the state trial would proceed. At an April hearing in state court, prosecutors revealed that they had offered plea deals to all three men, but they were rejected. At the time, Gray said it was hard for the defense to negotiate when the three still don’t know what their federal sentences would be.

Rachel Moran, a law professor at the University of St. Thomas, said it’s possible Lane received a better offer, though the public doesn’t know what happened behind the scenes. As for the other officers, she said Lane’s guilty plea has “got to make them think.”

“Particularly when I think most people would conceive of Thomas Lane as the least culpable of the three — and he’s the one pleading guilty,” Moran said. “Now if you are one of the other two left standing, it might change your position. … They may have less appealing offers to work with, but it still puts pressure on them.”

Under state sentencing guidelines, a person with no criminal record could face a sentence ranging from just under 3 1/2 years to four years and nine months in prison for second-degree unintentional manslaughter, with the presumptive sentence being four years. Lane’s recommended sentence of three years, which still must be approved by the judge, would be five months less than the low range.

If Lane had been convicted of aiding and abetting second-degree murder, he would have faced a presumptive 12 1/2 years in prison. And prosecutors served notice in 2020 that they intended to seek longer sentences for Lane, Kueng and Thao — as they did for Chauvin.

“That’s a very sweet deal,” John Baker, a former defense attorney who teaches aspiring police officers at St. Cloud State University, said of Lane’s agreement.

Baker said a guilty plea makes sense and he would not be surprised if at least one of the other former officers also took a deal.

An attorney for Thao, Robert Paule, was in the courtroom for Lane’s plea hearing. When asked if his client would also plead guilty, he replied “No comment.”

Kueng’s attorney, Tom Plunkett, also declined to comment.

Storms, one of the Floyd family attorneys, said the deal with Lane happened “very quickly.” When asked if he knew of any other possible negotiations with Thao or Kueng, he declined to comment on that, but said: “I think the family is hopeful, now that a state and federal jury have spoken, that the other officers will voluntarily be held accountable.”

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Mohamed Ibrahim is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.

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Find AP’s full coverage of the death of George Floyd at:

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10 Underrated Bollywood Movies Of All Time You Need To Watch

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Underrated Bollywood Movie

Bollywood movies get plenty of attention, but some don’t receive as much praise as they deserve. These underrated Bollywood movies are under the radar because they aren’t precisely award winners, or they just didn’t get the widespread attention that their success and entertainment value warranted. Here are 8 underrated Bollywood movies you should watch right now!

1. The Lunch Box

Credit: IMDb

When it comes to movies, everyone has a list of personal favorites. However, there are a lot of great films that never get appreciated by audiences for one reason or another. The Lunch Box is one of those underrated gems from our perspective. A “flaw” in delivering the lunch box leads to a peculiar bond between Saajan (Irrfan Khan) and Ila (Nimrat Kaur).

2. Vicky Donor

Underrated Bollywood Movie
Credit: IMDb

If you’re looking for an underrated Bollywood movie, it doesn’t get much better than Vicky Donor. This rags-to-riches comedy is a thought-provoking look at sperm donation and how it can affect a person’s life in ways they never expected. No matter what age you are, I promise that Vicky Donor will make you laugh your ass off.

3. Udaan

Underrated Bollywood Movie List
Credit: IMDb

This 2010 film, directed by Vikramaditya Motwane and starring Rajat Barmecha and Ronit Roy, is about a young boy who runs away from home to follow his dreams. Filmed in beautiful locations in Rajasthan, it has an art-house feel that’s quite similar to Italian neorealism. Udaan was chosen as India’s official entry for Best Foreign Language Film at the 83rd Academy Awards. One of the best-underrated Bollywood movies out there for sure.

4. Swades

Underrated Bollywood Movie
Credit: IMDb

If you were to tell me before I saw Swades that it would be a top underrated Bollywood movie, I’d look at you like you had three heads. But here we are.

5. Tumbbad

Underrated Bollywood Movie List
Credit: IMDb

A terrifying example of why folklore is never meant to be shown on screen, Tumbbad is a movie that introduces us to an ordinary family living in one of India’s poorest regions. An epic mythological tale mixed with horrific human emotions, Tumbbad takes our breath away as we watch its main character grow older while his quest for power worsens. With no shortage of fear-inducing moments or spectacular and colorful set pieces, Tumbbad is a perfectly underrated Bollywood movie that you must absolutely watch.

6. Aligarh

Underrated Bollywood Movie
Credit: IMDb

Deeply emotional and intensely powerful, Aligarh tells a love story in which no one is a victim, no one is a martyr and all decisions are rational ones. Aligarh takes you on an intense journey of human emotions and what it means to be different in a world that refuses to accept difference. The top underrated Bollywood movies list would be incomplete without mentioning Aligarh.

7. Rocket Singh – Salesman of the Year

Underrated Bollywood Movie
Credit: IMDb

This satirical comedy highlights why employees aren’t putting in their best efforts. Set against a backdrop of disinterested management, Rocket Singh is a fictitious film that draws parallels to Indian bureaucracy and posits how to change things for the better. While fictional, it’s not far from reality. The movie is still funny, even if your office isn’t exactly like it. If you watch just one underrated Bollywood movie on our list, make it Rocket Singh – Salesman of The Year.

8. Har Kisse Ke Hisse Kaamyaab

Underrated Bollywood Movie
Credit: IMDb

Kaamyaab is an underrated Bollywood movie that you need to watch. It’s a great movie dauntlessly directed by Hardik Mehta. Underrated Bollywood movie like Kaamyaab deserves appreciation from the audience. Brilliantly acted by Sanjay Mishra. But what sets it apart from other movies is its brilliant script and complex themes.

9. Newton

Underrated Bollywood Movie
Credit: IMDb

Newton is an underrated Bollywood movie you need to watch if you’re a fan of thought-provoking and intelligent movies. Movies which you can’t afford to miss watching while in India. The movie stars a few of our favorite Bollywood actors like Rajkummar Rao, Pankaj Tripathi, Sanjay Mishra, Raghubir Yadav, Anjali Patil, etc. If you ask us why we suggest Newton for underrated Bollywood movies then it’s because despite being a fairly recent one (Released on January 9th, 2017), Newton is one of those films that has failed to leave an impact among viewers.

10. Masaan

Underrated Bollywood Movie - Masaan
Credit: IMDb

Director Neeraj Ghaywan’s 2015 romantic drama tells a gut-wrenching story of a young couple struggling with the social stigma. This award-winning film was inspired by real-life incidents that took place in North India and highlight issues of caste and class. Featuring some amazing cinematography and an incredible performance by newcomer Vicky Kaushal, Masaan is often considered to be one of the most underrated Bollywood movies of all time. It even made it to TIME magazine’s list of top 10 must-watch Bollywood films. If you haven’t seen it yet, do check it out!

Hindi cinema is one of the biggest in the world, and India produces movies at an astonishing rate. It’s hard to keep up with all of them, especially if you aren’t living in the country itself or familiar with the culture. With this list of underrated Bollywood movies of all time, we offered you the chance to find some great titles that will entertain you and let you learn more about Hindi cinema at the same time.

The post 10 Underrated Bollywood Movies Of All Time You Need To Watch appeared first on MEWS.

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Vintage Kyle Hendricks leads the Chicago Cubs to a shutout of the St. Louis Cardinals: ‘Everything was working’

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Vintage Kyle Hendricks leads the Chicago Cubs to a shutout of the St. Louis Cardinals: ‘Everything was working’

There’s no question Kyle Hendricks has suffered through some difficult starts in 2022, his second straight subpar season with the Chicago Cubs.

Hendricks came into Friday’s game against the St. Louis Cardinals having allowed six runs or more in four of his 13 starts, leading to a bloated earned-run average of 5.43. It’s not the Hendricks the Cubs have come to expect, though it’s also not the same kind of contending team he has enjoyed playing for during the bulk of his career.

But Cubs fans got a glimpse of vintage Hendricks on Friday night at Busch Stadium, and it was every bit as good as they remembered.

“That was as good as I’ve seen him this year,” manager David Ross said. “Everything was working.”

Hendricks tossed 7 ⅓ shutout innings in a 3-0 victory before 46,524, the largest crowd of the season at Busch.

The Cubs won for only the fifth time in 19 games, silencing the first-place Cardinals in the opener of their first series of the season in St. Louis.

“It was really Yan (Gomes) tonight,” Hendricks said of the game plan. “It was what he was able to do. I recognized it from the start. I trusted him the whole game. There was a couple shakes where I was committed to something and a couple shakes where I shouldn’t have.”

Hendricks allowed five hits while striking out six and walking one in a 91-pitch outing, improving to 3-6. Chris Martin and David Robertson finished if off, with Robertson collecting his ninth save in 12 opportunities.

Hendricks allowed only two base runners in the first five innings. Juan Yepez singled with two outs in the second but was thrown out at second to end the inning. Paul Goldschmidt walked with two outs in the fifth before Hendricks retired Brendan Donovan on a fly to center.

After Dylan Carlson singled to open the eighth and Harrison Bader doubled, Hendricks struck out pinch hitter Lars Nootbar before Martin replaced him. The Cubs reliever induced a comebacker to the mound and a soft liner to short to strand the runners.

“When you come in a game, whether you’re up five or down five, you try to get your mind right for the whole situation,” Martin said. “But definitely whenever you go out and pick up a teammate, you’re more amped up after that. It makes baseball fun in those situations. It’s where the bullpen wants to be and a big confidence boost.”

The Cubs scored their runs on Nico Hoerner’s two-run homer in the second off rookie Andre Pallante and Ian Happ’s RBI double in the fifth. Happ came into the night with a .367 average in his previous 22 games, quietly emerging as the co-leader of the offense along with Willson Contreras.

Ross before the game said Happ has proved he’s an “All-Star caliber” player.

“Ian has been our All-Star, he and Willson,” Ross said. “Those guys have really stood out above the rest for us. It’s nice to see the veteran guys play that consistently.”

But Hendricks was the man in the spotlight Friday.

“Vintage Kyle,” Ross said. “He locks it in when the stage is big.”

Whether it looked like the Hendricks of old, he said he doesn’t think of a performance like Friday as a reminder of something in the past.

“Somewhat, but it feels so long ago,” he said. “I’m really trying to focus on where I’m at and just seeing the game for what it is, taking it and knowing where to go and making my pitches. Yan really helped me today feel the game better. I just haven’t had that great feel for what they’re trying to do against me. He was huge getting me in that mindset.”

Hendricks is such a low-key individual he appears the same every day no matter how he’s performing. After the struggles he has gone through in the last two seasons, has he ever gotten so upset that he breaks something?

“No, not breaking stuff, man,” he said with a laugh. “I just get frustrated and just got to get to work. There’s nothing I can do to change it. Now it’s just get to work and make the next one better. Obviously it’s not where I want to be. There’s not anger or anything like that. Just got to make better pitches — that’s where my focus is.”

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Chicago White Sox manage only 1 hit in a heated 4-1 loss to the Baltimore Orioles — their 3rd straight defeat

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Chicago White Sox manage only 1 hit in a heated 4-1 loss to the Baltimore Orioles — their 3rd straight defeat

Austin Voth and four relievers combined on a one-hitter, Jorge Mateo had a heated exchange with Chicago White Sox starter Michael Kopech after getting nailed by a pitch and the Baltimore Orioles won 4-1 on Friday night at Guaranteed Rate Field.

Voth, normally a reliever, went three innings in his second start. He gave up an RBI double to Jake Burger in the second for the White Sox’s only hit.

Joey Krehbiel (3-3) worked 2 ⅓ perfect innings before Bryan Baker and Cionel Pérez each got four outs. Jorge López pitched the ninth for his 13th save in 15 chances, helping the Orioles win their third straight and fourth in five games.

After outscoring the Washington Nationals and the White Sox by a combined 11-0 over the previous two games, the Orioles cruised in this one too.

The only real drama occurred in the second inning after Kopech (2-4) retired the first two batters. He nailed Mateo near the left shoulder and upper back with a similar pitch to the one that hit Sox second baseman Josh Harrison on Thursday.

Mateo had some words for Kopech. The benches and bullpens emptied, but no punches were thrown. Orioles manager Brandon Hyde argued with crew chief Marvin Hudson, and both teams were issued warnings.

Mateo stole second and came around on a single by Richie Martin to make it 2-0.

Cedric Mullins led off the game with a bunt single and scored on a wild pitch.

Rookie Adley Rutschman doubled in the fourth and scored on a balk. Austin Hays added an RBI double in the eighth to extend the lead to 4-1.

The White Sox dropped their third in a row, and Kopech lost his second straight start. The right-hander went six-plus innings, allowing three runs and three hits.

  • White Sox third baseman Yoán Moncada (right hamstring strain) might be ready to return from the 10-day injured list when he is eligible Tuesday, manager Tony La Russa said. … Center fielder Luis Robert was back in the lineup after being held out Thursday because of an unspecified injury.

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