3 and a half years in prison for the police officer who knelt on Floyd's back

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3 and a half years in prison for the policeman who knelt on Floyd’s back

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J. Alexander Kueng (left) pleaded guilty in the George Floyd murder case.

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 three on Friday and a half years in prison.

J. Alexander Kueng pleaded guilty in October to one count of aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter. In exchange, an accessory to murder charge was dropped. Kueng is already serving a federal sentence for violating the civil rights of George Floyd, and the state sentence will be served at the same time.

Kueng appeared at his sentencing hearing by video from a federal prison in Ohio. When given the chance to address the court, he refused.

George Floyd died on May 25, 2020, after former police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for nine and a half minutes. Mr. Floyd repeatedly said he could not breathe. The murder, which someone caught on video, has sparked protests around the world as part of a broader take on racial injustice.

J. Alexander Kueng knelt on Mr. Floyd's back during the restraint, while a third officer, Thomas Lane, held Mr. Floyd's legs and a fourth, Tou Thao , prevented passers-by from intervening. All of the officers were fired and faced state and federal charges.

As part of his plea deal, Kueng admitted that he was holding the torso of George Floyd, whom he knew from experience and training that restraining a handcuffed person in a prone position created a substantial risk and that Mr. Floyd's restraint was unreasonable in the circumstances.

Kueng agreed to a state sentence of three and a half years in prison, to be served concurrently with his federal sentence and in federal custody.

Kueng's sentencing will bring the cases against all former police officers closer to resolution, although the state's case against Thao is still pending.

Thao had previously told Judge Peter Cahill that it would be a lie to plead guilty. In October, he accepted what is called an established evidence trial on the count of manslaughter. As part of this process, his attorneys and prosecutors develop agreed-upon evidence in his case and file written closing arguments. Judge Cahill will then decide whether he is guilty or not.

If Thao is found guilty, the count of murder – which carries a presumed sentence of 12 and a half years in prison – will be abandoned.

Chauvin, who is white, was convicted of state murder and manslaughter last year and is serving a 22.5-year sentence in the case of the x27;State. He also pleaded guilty to a federal charge of violating Mr. Floyd's civil rights and was sentenced to 21 years. He is concurrently serving his sentences at the Federal Correctional Institution in Tucson, Arizona.

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

Lane, who is white, is serving his two-and-a-half-year federal sentence in a Colorado facility. He is serving a three-year state sentence at the same time.

Kueng, who is black, was sentenced to three years on federal charges; Thao, who is Hmong American, received a federal sentence of three and a half years.

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