Death of George Floyd: ex-Minneapolis police officer pleads guilty

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Death of George Floyd : ex-Minneapolis police officer pleads guilty

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

A former Minneapolis police officer pleaded guilty on Monday to aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter in the George Floyd murder case, just as jury selection was set. to begin. Another ex-policeman is still on trial.

The plea deal for J. Alexander Kueng provides for three and a half years in prison, with prosecutors agreeing to drop the count of accessory to second-degree murder. Mr. Kueng is the second police officer to plead guilty to the statewide charge, following Thomas Lane, who pleaded guilty earlier this year.

Their former colleague, Tou Thao, rejected a plea deal earlier this year, telling a judge it would be a lie to agree to such a deal. Jury selection for Mr. Thao's trial was scheduled to begin later Monday.

All three were convicted in February of federal charges that they willfully violated the civil rights of George Floyd. Mr. Lane was sentenced to two and a half years in prison in the federal case. Mr. Kueng was sentenced to three years and Mr. Thao was sentenced to three and a half years, but for some members and activists of the Floyd family, the sentences were too low.

African-American George Floyd, who was 46, died on May 25, 2020, after Officer Derek Chauvin, who is white, pinned him to the ground with his knee on his neck. The murder, captured on widely viewed video, sparked protests against racial injustice in Minneapolis and around the world.

MM. Kueng and Lane helped restrain Floyd, who was handcuffed. Mr. Kueng knelt on Mr. Floyd's back and Lane held the victim's legs. Mr. Thao stopped bystanders from intervening during the nine-and-a-half-minute intervention.

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

Mr. Kueng's plea implies that he will serve his state and federal sentences, while as does Mr. Lane.

Derek Chauvin was convicted of state murder and manslaughter last year and is currently serving a sentence of 22½ years in the state case. He also pleaded guilty to a federal charge of violating the civil rights of George Floyd and was sentenced to 21 years in prison for that and an unrelated case involving a 14-year-old boy. He is concurrently serving his sentences at the Federal Correctional Institution in Tucson, Arizona.

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