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Two ex-cops are sentenced for violating George Floyd’s civil rights : NPR


Former Minneapolis Police Officer Tou Thao (left) was sentenced to three and a half years and J. Alexander Kueng on Wednesday to three years for violating George Floyd’s civil rights.

Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office via AP


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Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office via AP


Former Minneapolis Police Officer Tou Thao (left) was sentenced to three and a half years and J. Alexander Kueng on Wednesday to three years for violating George Floyd’s civil rights.

Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office via AP

ST. Paul, Minn. – The last two former Minneapolis police officers ever convicted of violating George Floyd’s civil rights in May 2020, his murder was sentenced Wednesday in federal court to three-and-a-half years – a punishment that a judge said reflects the extent of their reproach in a crime case. rallies around the world as part of a reckoning on racial injustice.

J. Alexander Kueng was sentenced to three years and Tou Thao to three and a half years. They were convicted in February of two counts of violating Floyd’s civil rights. The jury found they had stripped the 46-year-old black man of medical care and were unable to stop Derek Chauvin as he knelt on Floyd’s neck for nine and a half minutes.

As Chauvin clamped Floyd’s neck, Kueng held Floyd’s back, police officer Thomas Lane held him, and Thao held back witnesses to the murder, which was recorded by bystanders.

The federal government brought civil rights charges against all four officers in May 2021, a month after Chauvin was found guilty of murder and manslaughter in state court. They are seen as affirmations of the Justice Department’s priorities to address racial inequality in policing, a promise made by President Joe Biden ahead of his election. And they come just a week after federal prosecutors filed hate crimes charges in the murder of 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia and announced two sweeping security investigations in two states.

Kueng and Thao were convicted in February of two counts of violating Floyd’s civil rights. The jury found they had deprived the 46-year-old black man of medical care and were unable to stop Chauvin. Kueng, who is black, was sentenced to three years on each count, to be served concurrently.

The lower sentences for Kueng and Thao raise questions about whether he will consider a plea agreement or risk taking it to state court on October 24, when they face further charges. aiding and abetting second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

Chauvin, who pleaded guilty last year to violating Floyd’s civil rights and a teenager’s civil rights in an unrelated case, was sentenced to 21 years in federal prison. Lane, who twice asked whether Floyd should lie on his side so he could breathe, was found guilty of one count and sentenced last week to 2 and a half – a sentence Floyd’s brother Philonise called “” offense”.

Kueng and Thao won last week when Magnuson issued a ruling affecting how their federal convictions are calculated. The verdicts – especially the one relating their crimes to involuntary manslaughter rather than murder – mean the men must appear at Wednesday’s hearing with a recommendation of 4 to 1. /4 years to 5 1/4 years. They could face life in prison.

Mark Osler, professor at the University of St. Thomas and a former federal prosecutor, said before the hearing that Kueng and Thao would likely seek a plea agreement on state crimes not exceeding a federal sentence and would let them serve. concurrent sentences.

Kueng and Thao can still appeal their federal judgment. Mike Brandt, the criminal defense attorney who followed the case, said if they plead guilty in state court, any federal appeal would be contested. But it is also difficult to win a federal appeal, he said.

“That’s some of the calculations they’re going to have to do on the matter, do I have to go to court and risk something worse? Do I think I’ve got a good chance of appealing the case? federal?” Brandt said.

Lane, who is white, pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter and is awaiting sentencing in that case. He was allowed to continue his bond freedom after his federal sentencing.

Chauvin, a white man, was convicted 22 1/2 state sentence beyond his federal judgment. Those sentences are being served concurrently.



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