Former Minneapolis police officers J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao were sentenced Wednesday for violating George Floyd’s civil rights by not intervening when former officer Derek Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck, killing Floyd. The court sentenced Kueng to three years in prison and Thao to three-and-a-half years. The fourth officer, Thomas Lane, was sentenced to four years last week.
The defense claimed that Thao’s role was minor. The court dismissed the claim because Thao saw everything that was happening. Kueng and Thao will face state trial in October regarding aiding and abetting unintended second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.
Derek Chauvin was sentenced to 21 years in prison after being found guilty of violating Floyd’s civil rights, and he was sentenced to 22.5 years in prison for second-degree murder in 2021. Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck for nine-and-a-half minutes as Lane, Thao, and Kueng watched without intervening. Kueng and Thao also refused to intervene for medical purposes when Floyd said “I can’t breathe.” Protests following Floyd’s death reignited conversations about racism, police brutality and the role of police. Chauvin has appealed his murder conviction.