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Officer J Alexander Kueng who kneeled on George Floyd’s back sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison

Community members say the Kueng, Thao developments will take away the pain of many reliving Floyd’s death


Community members say the Kueng, Thao developments will take away the pain of many reliving Floyd’s death

02:43

The former Minneapolis police officer who knelt on George Floyd’s back while another officer knelt on the black man’s neck was sentenced Friday to 3 1/2 years in prison for murder.

J. Alexander Kueng pleaded guilty in October to aiding and abetting second-degree murder. In exchange, the charge of aiding and abetting the murder was dropped. The plea came on the same day that jury selection was to begin in his trial. His guilty plea – along with another officer’s decision to let a judge decide his fate – would have been the third long and painful trial over Floyd’s murder.

Matthew Frank, who led the prosecution for the Minnesota attorney general’s office, said repeatedly during Friday’s hearing that Floyd was a crime victim and that prosecutors are “focused on the officers” who caused his death . He said the case did not stand for a comprehensive examination of policing, but said he hoped it would reaffirm that police officers cannot treat people who are “non-people or as second-class citizens”. are in trouble.”

Frank said, “Mr. Kueng was not simply a bystander that day. He did less than he could to try to help Mr. Floyd.”

Floyd died on May 25, 2020 after the former officer derek chauvin Knelt on Floyd’s neck for 9 1/2 minutes as Floyd repeatedly said he couldn’t breathe and eventually went limp. The killing, which was recorded on video by a bystander, sparked protests around the world as part of a wider protest against racial injustice.

During the restraint, Kueng kneeled on Floyd’s back. Then-officer Thomas Lane held Floyd’s legs and Tu Tho, an officer at the time, also prevented bystanders from intervening. All officers were fired and face state and federal charges.

Kueng, who is already serving a federal sentence for violating Floyd’s civil rights, was sentenced Friday via video from a low-security federal prison in Ohio. When given a chance to address the court, he refused. The hearing was to be held on Friday morning, but due to technical difficulties, it was postponed till afternoon.

Floyd’s family members had the right to make victim impact statements, but none did.

As part of his plea agreement, Kueng admitted that he held Floyd’s torso, that he knew from his experience and training that restraining a handcuffed man in a prone position posed a substantial risk, and That Floyd’s restraint was inappropriate under the circumstances.

Kueng agreed to a state sentence of 3 1/2 years in prison, at the same time to be served his federal sentence and in federal custody.

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

Thao had previously told Judge Peter Cahill that pleading guilty “would be lying”. In October, he agreed to what is called a prescribed evidence test on counts of aiding and abetting murder. As part of that process, his attorneys and prosecutors are working on agreed-upon evidence in his case and filing written closing arguments. Cahill will then decide whether or not he is guilty.

Attorney Joe Tamburino, who is not associated with the case, told CBS Minnesota Hearing in this way is “very unusual” and occurs rarely.

“In my 33 years of experience with over 100 jury trials, defense attorneys do not waive a jury unless they have a very good idea of ​​what the judge will do,” Tamburino said. “The main reason you don’t pardon a jury is that a jury needs to be unanimous … and a ‘bench trial’ is just one person – the judge.”

If convicted, Thao would be dropped on the count of aiding and abetting second-degree murder, which carries an estimated sentence of 12 1/2 years in prison.

Chauvin, who is white, was convicted last year on state murder and manslaughter charges and is serving a 22 1/2-year sentence in the state case. He also pleaded guilty to a federal charge of violating Floyd’s civil rights and was sentenced to 21 years in prison. He is serving a concurrent sentence at the Federal Correctional Institution in Tucson, Arizona.

Kueng, Lane and Thao were indicted on federal charges in February: all three were convicted of depriving Floyd of his right to medical care and Thao and Kueng were convicted of failing to intervene to stop Chauvin during the killing. was also convicted.

lane, who is white, is serving his 2 1/2-year federal sentence at a facility in Colorado. He is serving a three-year state sentence at the same time. Kueng, who is black, was sentenced to three years in federal prison; Thao, who is Hmong American, received a 3 1/2-year federal sentence.

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