A former Minneapolis police officer who assisted in the fatal restraint of George Floyd was sentenced to three and a half years in prison on Friday for his role in the murder.
J. Alexander Kueng pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter the day his state trial began last October, agreeing to plead guilty in exchange for the state dropping the charge of aiding and abetted second degree unintentional murder on May 25, 2020, whose death sparked international protests against police brutality.
Kueng appeared remotely from the U.S. Bureau of Prisons’ Elkton facility in Lisbon, Ohio, where he is serving a three-year federal prison sentence for violating Floyd’s civil rights. He did not speak in court.
“Nothing is your honor, thank you,” he said when asked if he had any comments.
There is no official victim impact statement.
“I really can’t fathom what George Floyd’s family and friends went through,” prosecutor Matthew Frank told the court before sentencing.
“It’s not just watching videos of your loved one passing away on TV over and over. During the past two and a half years, throughout all court proceedings, we have thought of them often and we wish them all the best for healing and moving forward. ”
Frank said Floyd was a “victim of crime” and Kueng was “not simply an outsider in what happened that day.”
“Mr. Kueng is an active part of this,” he added.
Defense attorney Thomas Plunkett said city leaders and police had “failed” with both Floyd and Kueng.
Kueng received credit for the 84-day service time. Judge Peter Cahill ruled that he would be barred from possessing firearms and ammunition for the rest of his life.
His sentencing Friday was delayed by several hours because of technical issues with the videoconference.
Kueng, who helped restrain Floyd when officer Derek Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes, and another officer, Tou Thao, who fended off angry witnesses begging the police to release Floyd, both convicted of a federal crime in the murder of his 46-year-old father. They were found guilty of violating Floyd’s civil rights and failing to intervene to stop Chauvin in custody.
Kueng was sentenced to three years and Thao to three and a half years. Keung will serve a state sentence concurrently with a federal sentence.
The two former officers began serving their sentences in October, according to the federal Bureau of Prisons.
Chauvin was found guilty of willful second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in state court and sentenced to 22.5 years in prison in June 2021.
In federal court, Chauvin pleaded guilty to disenfranchisement of Floyd and unrelated civil rights violations of sentenced to 21 years in prison. He is serving concurrent sentences.
Thomas Lane, the fourth officer who detained Floyd during the arrest, pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter over the summer and has been arrested. sentenced to three years in prison in September. He is serving a concurrent two-and-a-half year federal sentence in Colorado.
Initially, Kueng will go to court in October along with Thao.
Thao, according to his attorney, Robert Paule, has agreed to a trial according to the prescribed evidence, meaning he waives his right to a jury trial and that the court will decide Thao’s fate after a review by the court. evidence presented by both parties.