J. Alexander Kueng, ex-cop who knelt on George Floyd’s back, sentenced to 3.5 years

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

J. Alexander Kueng pleaded guilty to a state charge of second-degree manslaughter in October. In return, a charge of aiding and abetting murder was dropped. Kueng is already serving a federal sentence for violating Floyd’s civil rights, and the state and federal sentences are being served concurrently.

Kueng, who is already serving a federal sentence for violating Floyd’s civil rights, appeared at his sentencing hearing via video from a federal prison in Ohio. When given the opportunity to appeal to the court, he declined.

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

Floyd died on May 25, 2020 after 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 murder, which was videotaped by a bystander, sparked global protests as part of a broader reckoning of racial injustice.

A picture of former officers Derek Chauvin and J. Alexander Kueng.
Former officers Derek Chauvin and Kueng brutally held Floyd’s neck and back for 9 1/2 minutes as Floyd repeatedly said he couldn’t breathe.
via REUTERS

Kueng knelt on Floyd’s back during the restraint. Then-officer Thomas Lane held Floyd’s legs and Tou Thao, also an officer at the time, kept bystanders from intervening. All officers were fired and face state and federal charges.

As part of his plea agreement, Kueng admitted that he held Floyd’s torso, that he knew from experience and training that holding a handcuffed person prone posed a significant risk, and that Floyd’s restraint was inadequate under the circumstances .

Matthew Frank, who led the prosecution for the Minnesota Attorney General’s office, repeatedly said during the hearing that Floyd was a crime victim and that prosecutors were “focused on the officers” who caused his death. He added that the case was not intended to be a broader investigation into policing, but added that he hopes to reiterate that police officers “do not treat those in crisis as non-humans or second-class citizens.” be able”.

A picture of George Floyd.
George Floyd died on May 25, 2020 after a vendor suspected him of using counterfeit money.
Facebook

“Mr. Kueng wasn’t just a spectator that day. He did less than some of the bystanders tried to help Mr. Floyd,” Frank said.

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

Thao previously told Judge Peter Cahill that it “would be lying” to plead guilty. In October, he agreed to what is known as a pre-evidence test of accessory to manslaughter. As part of this process, his attorneys and prosecutors develop agreed evidence in his case and submit written closing arguments. Cahill will then decide if he is guilty or not.

If Thao is convicted, the murder charge – which carries a presumptive 12 1/2 years in prison – will be dropped.

A picture of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.
Chauvin was convicted of state murder and manslaughter last year and is serving ​​22 1/2 years at the state trial.
Facebook/Darnella Frazier/AFP via Getty Images

Chauvin, who is white, was convicted of state murder and manslaughter last year and is serving ​​22 1/2 years at the state trial. He also pleaded guilty to one federal charge of violating Floyd’s civil rights and was sentenced to 21 years. He is serving the sentences concurrently at the Federal Correctional Institution in Tucson, Arizona.

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

Lane, who is white, is serving his 2 1/2 year federal sentence at a Colorado facility. At the same time, he is serving a three-year state sentence. Kueng, who is black, was sentenced to three years at the federal level; Thao, a Hmong-American, received a three-and-a-half-year federal sentence.

https://nypost.com/2022/12/09/j-alexander-kueng-ex-cop-who-kneeled-on-george-floyds-back-gets-3-5-year-term/ J. Alexander Kueng, ex-cop who knelt on George Floyd’s back, sentenced to 3.5 years

JACLYN DIAZ

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