George Floyd: Ex-US cop handed manslaughter sentence
Former Minneapolis police officer J. Alexander Kueng was sentenced to three and a half years in prison by a Minnesota court on Friday for his part in the racially motivated killing of a Black man, George Floyd.
The May 2020 murder sparked nationwide protests against police brutality and racism within the US.
Kueng was kneeling on Floyd's back while senior police officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on his neck for nine and a half minutes, causing his death. Another officer, Thomas Lane, held Floyd's legs during the restraint, while officer Tou Thao kept bystanders from intervening.
Kueng pleaded guilty to one case of aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter to the Hennepin County District Court, in exchange for a second charge of aiding and abetting being dropped.
He appeared for the hearing through a video from federal prison. Kueng will serve his time for the federal and state cases at the same time and is likely to spend another two and a half years in prison.
"While the family faces yet another holiday season without George, we hope that moments like these continue to bring them a measure of peace, knowing that George's death was not in vain," Floyd family's attorney Ben Crump said. Both Kueng and the Floyd family declined to make a statement in court.
Kueng's lawyer Thomas Plunkett attempted to share the blame with the Minneapolis Police Department, saying that the institution failed to provide Kueng with adequate training to intervene against another officer. He highlighted that Kueng was merely three days into independent duty as a police officer.
Matthew Frank, who led the prosecution for the Minnesota attorney general's office said that Kueng was not a bystander on that day. "He did less than what some of the bystanders attempted to do in helping Mr. Floyd," Frank said.
Chauvin was convicted of murder in the state trial and sentenced to 22 and a half years. He is also serving a federal sentence of 21 years concurrently. Kueng, Thao and Lane were convicted in the federal court in July for depriving Floyd of his civil rights.