Dec 9, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Ex-Minneapolis officer sentenced to 3.5 years over George Floyd charges

Former Minneapolis police officer J. Alexander Kueng walks by protesters after a hearing on Sept. 11, 2020 at the Hennepin County Family Justice Center in downtown Minneapolis. Photo: Anthony Souffle/Star Tribune via Getty Images

Former Minneapolis police officer J. Alexander Kueng was sentenced Friday to 3.5 years in prison over state charges for his involvement in George Floyd's death.

Driving the news: Kueng pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter in October.

  • Kueng agreed to the 3.5-year sentence under the plea deal after prosecutors said they would drop one count of aiding and abetting second-degree murder.
  • As part of the plea agreement, Kueng admitted that he knowingly assisted in restraining Floyd by holding his torso despite knowing the substantial risk of death due to positional asphyxia. He also acknowledged that such a restraint was unreasonable under the circumstances and constituted an unlawful use of force.

Worth noting: Kueng and fellow former Minneapolis officer Tou Thao had previously rejected a plea deal.

The big picture: Floyd's death sparked mass protests against police brutality and anti-Blackness across the country.

  • After a separate federal civil rights trial, Kueng and Thao, along with former officer Thomas Lane, were convicted in January of violating Floyd's civil rights by failing to intervene as their then-colleague Derek Chauvin kneeled on Floyd's neck for over nine minutes.
  • Thao has agreed to a trial by stipulated evidence, meaning he waived his right to a jury and to testify. A judge will decide the verdict.

Go deeper: Minneapolis marks 2 years since George Floyd's murder

Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional background.

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