The last former Minneapolis police officers have been sentenced for violating George Floyd’s civil rights.
On Wednesday (July 27), J. Alexander Kueng was sentenced to 36 months in prison and Tou Thao was sentenced to 42 months in prison. Both were convicted in February of two counts of violating Floyd’s civil rights in the 2020 murder.
The former officers' sentencings come just weeks after Derek Chauvin, who knelt on Floyd’s neck for 9 1/2 minutes, was sentenced to 21 years in federal prison (served concurrently with 22.5-year state sentence) for violating Floyd's civil rights during the 2020 fatal arrest. Former Officer Thomas Lane, the fourth officer on the scene, was sentenced last week to 2.5 years in prison after being convicted of one federal charge.
Back in February, a jury found Thao, Kueng, and Lane guilty on all counts for their involvement in the death of Floyd — Thao was found guilty of failing to intervene against Chauvin and guilty of depriving Floyd of medical care; Kueng was found guilty of failing to intervene against Chauvin and guilty of depriving of medical care; Lane was found guilty of depriving Floyd of medical care.
The fired Minneapolis police officers were charged with using the "color of the law" to violate Floyd's civil rights during the 46-year-old handcuffed Black man's fatal arrest on May 25, 2020. Federal prosecutors were able to prove the three officers failed to act as Floyd pleaded for his life under the knee of fellow officer Chauvin.
All three defendants were accused of showing "deliberate indifference" to Floyd's medical needs as Chauvin pressed his knee into Floyd's neck for more than nine minutes, ultimately killing him. While former Officer Thomas Lane held Floyd's feet, Kueng held Floyd’s torso and Thao kept back bystanders.
Kueng and Thao faced an additional charge that held them responsible for Floyd's death since they did nothing to stop Chauvin when he was kneeling on Floyd's neck. Lane did not face the additional charge because he appeared to express concern for Floyd's well-being during the arrest.
Kueng, along with Thao, now face a state trial in October on charges of aiding and abetting second-degree unintentional murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter. They have both pleaded not guilty.
Reading about Black trauma can have an impact on your mental health. If you or someone you know need immediate mental health help, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 to be connected to a certified crisis counselor.