Ex-cop Kueng gets 3 years for violating Floyd’s rights

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Former Minneapolis police Officer J. Alexander Kueng was sentenced Wednesday in federal court to three years in prison for violating George Floyd’s civil rights during the May 2020 killing.

Kueng’s co-defendant, Tou Thao, was scheduled to be sentenced later Wednesday morning.

Kueng and Thao were convicted in February of two counts of violating Floyd’s civil rights. The jury found they deprived the 46-year-old Black man of medical care and failed to stop Derek Chauvin as he knelt on Floyd’s neck for 9 1/2 minutes. Kueng was sentenced to three years on each count, to be served concurrently.

Kueng held Floyd’s back, former Officer Thomas Lane held his feet and Thao kept bystanders back. Bystander video of Floyd’s killing sparked worldwide protests as part of a reckoning over racial injustice.

The federal government brought the civil rights charges against all four officers in May 2021, a month after Chauvin was convicted of murder in state court.

Chauvin and Lane have already been sentenced on civil rights violations. Chauvin, who pleaded guilty last year to violating Floyd’s civil rights and the civil rights of a teenager in an unrelated case, was sentenced to 21 years in federal prison. Lane, who twice asked if Floyd should be rolled onto his side so he could breathe, was convicted of one count and was sentenced to 2 1/2.

Federal prosecutors had requested that U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson sentence Kueng and Thao to less time than Chauvin, but “substantially” more than Lane.

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