ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The last two former Minneapolis police officers who were convicted of violating George Floyd’s civil rights during his May 2020 killing were sentenced Wednesday in federal court to three and 3 1/2 years. The judge said the penalties reflected their level of culpability in the case that sparked worldwide protests as part of a reckoning over racial injustice.
J. Alexander Kueng was sentenced to three years and Tou Thao got a 3 1/2-year sentence. They were convicted in February of two counts of violating Floyd’s civil rights. The jury found they deprived the 46-year-old Black man of medical care and failed to stop Derek Chauvin as he knelt on Floyd’s neck for 9 1/2 minutes.
As Chauvin pinned Floyd’s neck, Kueng held Floyd’s back, former Officer Thomas Lane held his feet and Thao kept bystanders back during the killing, which was recorded by a bystander.
The federal government brought the civil rights charges against all four officers in May 2021, a month after Chauvin was convicted of murder in state court.
Chauvin and Lane have already been sentenced on civil rights violations. Chauvin, who pleaded guilty last year to violating Floyd’s civil rights and the civil rights of a teenager in an unrelated case, was sentenced to 21 years in federal prison. Lane, who twice asked if Floyd should be rolled onto his side so he could breathe, was convicted of one count and was sentenced to 2 1/2.
Federal prosecutors had requested that U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson sentence Kueng and Thao to less time than Chauvin, but “substantially” more than Lane.