Jul 27, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Two ex-officers sentenced for violating George Floyd's civil rights

Former Minneapolis police officers Tou Thao (left) and Alexander Kueng (right) leaving a federal court in January 2022.

Former Minneapolis police officers Tou Thao (left) and Alexander Kueng (right) leaving a federal court in January. Photo: Kerem Yucel/AFP via Getty Images

Former Minneapolis police officers Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao were sentenced Wednesday to three and 3 1/2 years in prison, respectively, for their roles in the killing of George Floyd in May 2020, AP reports.

Why it matters: Kueng, Thao and Thomas Lane, another former police officer, were convicted of violating Floyd's civil rights in February by not intervening as Derek Chauvin kneeled on Floyd's neck for more than nine minutes and killed him.

Throughout the murder, Lane had held Floyd's legs and Kueng held his back as Chauvin was kneeling on his neck. Thao kept bystanders back.

  • Lane was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison for violating Floyd's civil rights last week.
  • The jury said in February that the actions of Thao, Kueng and Lane directly resulted in Floyd's murder. Thao and Kueng were also charged with violating his right to be free from unreasonable seizure.
  • Chauvin, who received 22 1/2 years in prison for Floyd's murder, was also sentenced to 21 years for charges that included violating his civil rights. He will serve both sentences concurrently.

The big picture: Kueng and Thao face a state trial in October over counts of aiding and abetting second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, AP reported.

  • Lane faces a separate sentencing in state court on Sept. 21 for aiding and abetting manslaughter, which he pleaded guilty to in May.
  • Floyd's death sparked outrage over law enforcement's use of force against Black Americans and led to mass protests across the country in the summer of 2020.

Go deeper: Ex-cop sentenced to 2 ½ years for role in George Floyd killing

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