A former Minneapolis police officer is scheduled to be sentenced on Friday for his role in the death of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man killed in May 2020 when a fellow officer knelt on his neck for more than nine minutes.
J. Alexander Kueng, who pleaded guilty in October to one count of assisting and abetting manslaughter, is scheduled to be sentenced to three and a half years in prison at 8:30 a.m. in Hennepin County District Court.
On May 25, 2020, Kueng was one of four officers called to a Minneapolis grocery store and attempted to arrest Floyd on suspicion of using a forged $20 bill to purchase cigarettes.
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During the encounter, the senior officer on the scene, Derek Chauvin, used his knee to pin Floyd’s handcuffed neck to the ground, killing him.
Kueng, 29, and fellow officer Thomas Lane assisted Chauvin in restraint of Floyd while another officer, Tou Thao, kept onlookers at bay.
Following the incident, protests and, at times, riots erupted across Minneapolis. A social media video of the incident sparked protests against police brutality and racism across the country and in major cities worldwide.
Chauvin was convicted of murder in a state trial and sentenced to 22 1/2 years in prison. He also pleaded guilty to related federal charges and currently serves a 21-year federal sentence concurrently.
In July, three other officers were convicted in federal court of violating Floyd’s civil rights and sentenced to 2-1/2 to 3-1/2 years in prison.
According to a spokesperson for Hennepin County District Court, Kueng’s plea agreement on the state charge includes a sentence of 3-1/2 years to be served concurrently with his federal sentence. Lane agreed to a similar plea bargain in May.
Thao has decided to waive his right to a jury trial after rejecting a comparable agreement in August. Instead, a state judge will decide his guilt based on the evidence presented by both the prosecution and the defense.