US court sentences two former police officers in George Floyd case | Black Lives Matter News

Tou Thao was sentenced to three and a half years in prison on federal charges, and J Alexander Kueng to three years.

Two former police officers in the United States have been convicted on federal charges for their role in the murder of George Floyd, the black man who was killed when Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, knelt on his neck during a an arrest in May 2020.

At a hearing in St Paul, Minnesota on Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson sentenced Tou Thao, 36, to three and a half years, and J Alexander Kueng, 28, to three years. A third officer, Thomas Lane, 39, was sentenced last Thursday to two and a half years in prison.

In February, the three men were found guilty by a federal jury of stripping Floyd of his civil rights and failing to come to Floyd’s aid as Chauvin choked him with his knee for nine minutes. Chauvin was sentenced in February to 20 years and five months on federal charges related to the May 2020 murder of Floyd.

As Chauvin pinned Floyd’s neck, Kueng held Floyd’s back, Officer Thomas Lane held his feet and Thao restrained bystanders during the killing, which was videotaped by witnesses.

The federal government brought the civil rights charges against the four officers in May 2021, a month after Chauvin was convicted of murder and manslaughter in state court. They were seen as an affirmation of Justice Department priorities to address racial inequality in policing, a promise made by President Joe Biden before his election.

The charges came just a week after federal prosecutors filed hate crime charges in the February 2020 murder of 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia and announced two full police investigations in two states.

Arbery, a black man, was chased by white residents of a Georgia neighborhood while jogging. The three men cornered him with two vehicles and then shot him. They were convicted of murder, kidnapping and hate crimes, among other counts in state and federal courts in 2021 and 2022.

A cellphone video of the dying and handcuffed Floyd pleading with Chauvin for his life before falling motionless has sparked outrage, sparking 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 had attempted to take Floyd into custody on suspicion of using a counterfeit $20 bill to purchase cigarettes.

The May 2020 killing of George Floyd sparked daily nationwide protests calling for an end to police brutality and racial injustice in the United States [File: Eric Miller/Reuters]

Chauvin was also convicted of second-degree intentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter at a state trial in 2021. He is serving a concurrent sentence of 22½ years on that conviction.

In May, Lane pleaded guilty to state aiding and abetting manslaughter charges and accepted a three-year prison sentence. A state trial is due to begin in January for Thao and Kueng.

Federal prosecutors argued the three knew from their training and ‘basic human decency’ that they had a duty to help Floyd as he begged for his life before going limp below the knee. of Chauvin.

Kueng and Thao scored a victory last week when Magnuson issued rulings affecting the calculation of their federal sentences. The rulings – particularly one that referred to their crimes as manslaughter instead of murder – meant the men headed into Wednesday’s hearings with a recommended range of four-and-a-quarter to five-and-a-quarter years. They could have been sentenced to life.

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