Thomas Lane Sentenced in George Floyd Case

Thomas Lane is one of the three officers who were with Derek Chauvin when George Floyd died. Lane was fairly new to police work when the Floyd incident occurred, having been working as an unsupervised officer for only four days. He twice asked to reposition Floyd but was denied by Chauvin both times. Lane also went into the ambulance to assist with CPR on Floyd.

All three officers were brought up on state charges and federal charges, which meant two trials: one in federal court and one in state court. All three officers were found guilty in the federal trial which I sketched this past February.

In the state case, Lane broke from the other two officers and decided to plead guilty. He agreed to accept a sentence for “aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter” in exchange for the state dropping the murder charge against him. As a result he was sentenced to only serve two years behind bars. He has a newborn baby, which factored into his decision to accept the plea deal rather than to risk being found guilty in trial and receiving a longer sentence.

On July 21, 2022 Lane was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in Federal court, to be served concurrently with his two-year state sentence. The sentencing lasted about an hour. I was able to crank out two sketches:

Thomas Lane sits with his attorney Earl Gray.
Judge Paul Magnuson hands down his sentence.

Jamal Smith Shooting

On July 6, 2021 high school baseball coach Jay Boughton was driving home from a game with his son. On the Highway 169 freeway he had a traffic altercation with another vehicle. Someone in that vehicle pulled out a gun and shot Boughton in the head, causing him to crash. Boughton died though his son survived.

For a couple of months nobody knew who the shooter was. Eventually investigators concluded the shot was fired from a vehicle rented by Jamal Smith, a man from Chicago who was traveling through Minnesota with two friends. Smith stood trial for the shooting but claims one of his passengers fried the shot.

The trial commenced last week. After hearing all the evidence the jury found him guilty of first- and second-degree murder and unlawful possession of a firearm. Smith faces a mandatory life sentence.

I was not present for the entire 7-day trial, only for select portions.

First day of jury selection: Smith sits with his attorneys.
First day of jury selection: Smith’s attorney discussing what can and can’t be allowed into evidence.
Prosecuting attorneys discussing terms of the case with the judge.
The prosecution makes opening statements to the jury.
Jamal Smith sits between his attorneys as they listen to opening arguments.
Smith’s attorney makes opening arguments to the jury.
Kristin Boughton, wife of the victim, takes the stand.
Jamal Smith takes the stand and answers questions from his attorney.
Jamal Smith briefly wiped tears from his eyes white testifying.
Smith and his attorneys listen as the prosecution makes closing arguments to the jury.
Smith’s attorney makes closing statements to the jury, arguing that from Smith’s position in the driver’s seat it would have been too difficult for him to accurately shoot across the front seat while both cars were speeding down the road.

Derek Chauvin Federal Sentencing

On July 7, 2022 Derek Chauvin was sentenced in federal court for the death of George Floyd. He was sentenced to 21 years in prison. The sentence will run concurrently with his state sentence of 22.5 years.

The sentencing took about an hour so I had to draw fast. I was able to work up one hi-res sketch depicting a member of the Floyd family reading a statement. I sent it to the media along with two crops, one of Chauvin and one of the Judge.

A member of the George Floyd family reads a statement requesting the harshest sentence possible.
Derek Chauvin with his attorney Eric Nelson.
Federal District Judge Paul Magnuson reads the sentence.

Alina Clinic Shooting in Buffalo, MN

In 2021 Gregory Ulrich entered an Alina Health clinic in Buffalo, Minnesota and opened fire. He shot five people, one of whom died. He also set off two pipe bombs and a third that did not detonate. Ulrich admitted to the crime but says he is not guilty of first-degree murder because he didn’t intend to kill anyone, only to cause mayhem. He wanted to draw attention to what he saw as a heartless healthcare system by inflicting pain, not death.

Ulrich was angry about being denied opioids following a painful back surgery and says he was wrongfully labeled “drug-seeking”. On the stand Ulrich said, “I needed someone to listen…I wanted to sensationalize and get a louder message. I wanted to get in the papers and get people’s attention so people understand what pain is like without medication.” In a pre-taped video before the shooting Ulrich called on others to rise up and grab their guns. He said he was “saving all seniors” who are living in pain.

On June 3, 2022 a jury found Ulrich guilty on all counts.

I was only in court for the first day of jury selection, opening statements, and closing arguments.

Judge questions a potential juror in Day 1 of jury selection.
Defendant Gregory Ulrich listens to the proceedings on headphones.
Prosecutor makes opening statements to jury.
A wheelchair-bound Gregory Ulrich took the stand and was questioned by prosecutors.
During closing arguments, prosecutors played a video Ulrich recorded of himself before the shooting.
During closing arguments, the defense attorney played Ulrich’s 911 call for the jury in an effort to suggest Ulrich had some concern for the victims he had just shot.

Courtroom Sketch Display

The US District Court of Minnesota will be opening a new educational center soon in Minneapolis. They commissioned me to create a courtroom sketch-style illustration for use in an interactive educational display to help visitors learn about the individual roles in a courtroom. The display will have nine removable rectangle “puzzle pieces”, each highlighting a different person’s job. Visitors can take a puzzle piece from the sketch and place it in an RFID reader dock. When they do, a monitor will display information about that person’s role in court.

Above is the original illustration I completed. Below is a version showing the approximate cutout dimensions of each puzzle piece:

Once the display is finished and open to the public I hope to post some photos showing how it turned out.

George Floyd Officers Federal Trial

In January/February 2022 there was a federal trial in St. Paul charging the other three former police officers who were with Derek Chauvin when he put his knee on Floyd’s neck. The officers were accused of not doing enough to stop Chauvin and thereby depriving Floyd of his civil rights. The trial lasted an entire month and all three officers were convicted. I was in court every day and created over fifty sketches. Here is a sampling.

To license or publish sketches please contact me.

DOJ attorney Samantha Trepel makes opening arguments.
Paramedic Derek Smith testified that Floyd was not breathing, had no pulse, and was “probably deceased” when he arrived at the scene. He also acknowledged that officer Lane was “helpful” in efforts to resucitate Floyd in the ambulance. On the screen is body camera footage of officer Lane giving chest compressions to Floyd in the ambulance.
Defense attorney Robert Paule questions MPD Inspector Katie Blackwell about “excited delirium”, a condition in which people under the influence of drugs demonstrate psychotic behavior and extreme aggressiveness, often stripping off their clothes due to elevated body temperature. Paule showed a video montage of police subduing people experiencing the delirium. Paule argued the officers suspected Floyd was possibly showing signs of the delirium.
Harvard pulmonologist (lung expert) Dr. David Systrom testified that George Floyd died of asphyxia and that Floyd likely could have been saved had the other officers intervened.
Defense attorney Robert Paule questions former officer Tou Thao. Paule showed several examples of Minneapolis police being trained to use the knee to keep an aggressive suspect under control.
Assistant U.S. Attorney LeeAnn Bell questions former officer Tou Thao while other officers and attorneys look on.
Prosecuting attorney Manda Sertich questions former officer J. Alexander Kueng.
Prosecuting attorney Samantha Trepel questions former officer Thomas Lane while other officers and attorneys look on.
Attorney Earl Gray, representing former officer Thomas Lane, gives his closing arguments.
Judge Paul Magnuson reads the jury’s verdict: Guilty on all counts.

To license or publish these or other sketches please contact me.

Welcome to my new site!

I’ve redesigned my website and added some new artwork. I’ve also started a blog where I will post sketches (and maybe my own personal thoughts now and then) for select trials as I sketch them. I will start with the George Floyd trial currently underway in St. Paul.

Look around. If you are interested in licensing images or hiring me to sketch a trial please contact me.