Minnesota ex-officers sentenced on federal charges in George Floyd case

Two former Minneapolis police officers were sentenced on Wednesday on federal charges stemming from the murder of George Floyd, the Black man who was killed when their colleague Derek Chauvin kneeled on his neck during an arrest.

At a hearing in St. Paul, Minnesota, US District Judge Paul Magnuson sentenced Tou Thao, 36, to three and half years, Minnesota Public Radio reported.

Earlier on Wednesday, he sentenced J. Alexander Kueng, 28, to three years. A third officer, Thomas Lane, 39, was sentenced last Thursday to two and half years in prison.

In February, the three were convicted by a federal jury of depriving Floyd of his civil rights and failing to come to Floyd’s aid while Chauvin, a white man, was choking him with his knee for nine minutes. Chauvin was sentenced in February to 20 years and 5 months for federal charges related to Floyd’s murder in May 2020.

A cellphone video of the dying, handcuffed Floyd pleading with Chauvin for his life before falling motionless prompted outrage, spurring huge daily protests against racism and police brutality in cities around the world.

The four officers were called to a Minneapolis grocery store on May 25, 2020, and tried to take Floyd into custody on suspicion he used a fake $20 bill to buy cigarettes.

While Chauvin was kneeling on Floyd’s neck, Kueng placed his knee on Floyd’s lower body and left it there for more than eight minutes, prosecutors said.

Federal prosecutors argued that the three men knew from their training and from “basic human decency” that they had a duty to help Floyd as he begged for his life before falling limp beneath Chauvin’s knee.

Chauvin was also convicted of intentional second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in a state trial in 2021.

He is serving a concurrent sentence of 22 and half years on that conviction.

Lane in May pleaded guilty to state aiding and abetting manslaughter charges and agreed to a sentence of three years in prison. A state trial is scheduled to be begin in January for Thao and Kueng.

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