Former Minneapolis police officers J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao were sentenced to over three years in federal prison for violating the civil rights of George Floyd in May 2020. J. Alexander Kueng was sentenced Wednesday to three years and Tou Thao was sentenced to 3.5 years.
Both Kueng and Thao were convicted in February for showing “deliberate indifference to Mr. Floyd’s serious medical need and willfully failing to intervene.”
In 2020, George Floyd laid handcuffed and face down in the street as former officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on his neck and back for over nine minutes.
During the jury’s deliberation in the civil rights trial in February, the police officers testified on their own behalf. They offered several reasons to try to justify why they didn’t intervene or render aid, claiming “they were inexperienced, received inconsistent training and deferred to Chauvin’s seniority.” In the trial’s closing arguments this past February, prosecutor Manda Sertich said, “They chose not to intervene, they chose not to aid George Floyd as the window to save Mr. Floyd’s life slammed shut. This is a crime.”
Kueng and Thao were also found guilty of manslaughter along with Thomas Lane, who recently pleaded guilty to a state charge of aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter in May. Lane’s attorney, Earl Gray, said that at the time, this decision was made so that he can be part of his child’s life.