Ex-cop who kneeled on George Floyd’s back gets 3.5 years

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Ex-Minneapolis police officer who knelt on George Floyd’s back Another officer who knelt on the black man’s neck was sentenced to 3.5 years in prison on Friday.

J. Alexander Kueng pleaded guilty in October He was charged with aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter. In exchange, the charges of aiding and abetting murder were dropped. Coon is already serving a federal sentence for violating Floyd’s civil rights, and the state and federal sentences will be served concurrently.

Kueng appeared at the hearing via video from a federal prison in Ohio. When offered the opportunity to speak in court, he declined.

With the state and federal systems serving time and varying parole guidelines, Kueng is likely to serve a total of about 2 1/2 years.

Floyd’s family had the right to make a victim impact statement, but none did. Ben Crump, an attorney representing Floyd’s family, said in a statement before the hearing that Kuhn’s sentence “serves justice for the Floyd family.”

“While George’s family will have yet another holiday without George, we hope that moments like this continue to bring them a level of peace in the knowledge that George’s death was not in vain,” he said.

Floyd died on May 25, 2020, former police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck for 9 1/2 minutes as Floyd repeatedly said he couldn’t breathe and eventually became weak . The killing was captured on video by a bystander as part of a wider reckoning over racial injustice, sparking protests around the world.

During the bondage, Kuhn knelt on Floyd’s back. Then-officer Thomas Lane grabbed Floyd’s leg while Tou Thao, also an officer at the time, prevented bystanders from intervening. All officers have been fired and face state and federal charges.

As part of his plea agreement, Kueng admitted that he grabbed Floyd’s torso, knowing from his own experience and training that restraining a man in handcuffs in a prone position poses a significant risk, and in this case It is unreasonable to restrain Floyd.

Matthew Frank, who oversaw the prosecution for the Minnesota attorney general’s office, said repeatedly during the hearing that Floyd was a victim of a crime and that the prosecution was “focused” on the officer responsible for his death. He added that the case does not imply a broader review of policing, but added that he hopes it will reaffirm that police cannot treat “people in crisis as non-people or second-class citizens.”

“Mr. Kueng was more than a bystander that day. He did less than some bystanders try to do in helping Mr. Floyd,” Frank said.

Kueng’s attorney, Thomas Plunkett, blamed Floyd’s death on Friday on the Minneapolis Police Department’s leadership and lack of training. He blamed Medaria Arradondo, the police chief at the time of Floyd’s death, for failing to implement training that encouraged officers to intervene when their colleagues did something wrong.

“Mr. Rookie Kueng will spend a year in jail for every day he serves the city,” Plunkett said, referring to the three years he will spend behind bars.

He added: “Justice is nothing but vile revenge.”

Kueng’s sentence brings the case against all former officials closer to resolution, although the state case against Thao is still pending.

Thao had previously told Judge Peter Cahill that pleading guilty “was a lie”. In October, he agreed to a so-called prescribed evidence trial on charges of aiding and abetting manslaughter. As part of that process, his attorneys and prosecutors are developing agreed evidence for his case and submitting written closing arguments. Cahill will then decide whether he is guilty.

If Thao is convicted, the murder charge — carrying a presumptive sentence of 12 1/2 years in prison — would be dropped.

Chauvin, who is white, was convicted of state murder and manslaughter last year and served 22.5 years in the state caseHe also pleaded guilty to federal charges of violating Floyd’s civil rights and was sentenced to 21 years in prison. He is serving a concurrent sentence at the federal correctional facility in Tucson, Arizona.

Kueng, Lane and Thao were found guilty on federal charges in February: All three were convicted of depriving Floyd of medical treatment, and Thao and Kueng were also convicted of failing to intervene to stop Chauvin during the killing.

Lane, who is white, is serving a 2.5-year federal sentence at a facility in Colorado. He also served three years in prison. Kueng, who is black, was serving a three-year sentence on federal charges; Thao, a Hmong American, was serving a 3 1/2-year federal sentence.


Groves reported from Sioux Falls, South Dakota.


More AP coverage on the killing of George Floyd: https://apnews.com/hub/death-of-george-floyd

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