New Delhi: A former Minneapolis police officer who knelt on George Floyd’s back was sentenced to three-and-a-half years of imprisonment. He was one of four officers, captured on video by bystanders, involved in the arrest of the 46-year-old.
According to the BBC, J Alexander Kueng pleaded guilty to a state charge of aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter in October.
George Floyd was killed by police in May 2020 while lying chest down and handcuffed. His death sparked global outrage with massive protests against racial injustice and police brutality.
Kueng will serve his sentence for state charges concurrently with a previous federal sentence for violating Floyd’s civil rights.
In April 2021, former police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted on charges of state murder and manslaughter for kneeling on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes. He was sentenced to 22-and-a-half years in jail. He is serving that sentence concurrently with 20 years of imprisonment on federal civil rights charges, for which he pleaded guilty in December 2021.
In February, Kueng, along with two other responding officers, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao, was found guilty of federal civil rights charges. The officers were found guilty of showing “deliberate indifference to [Floyd’s] serious medical needs” during the attempted arrest.
A video showed Kueng and Lane assisting Derek Chauvin by helping to hold down Floyd. At that time, Thao was seen keeping concerned bystanders away. Chauvin was a field training officer to both Lane and Kueng.
The other officers involved were also given sentences of varying lengths for the federal charges.
According to the BBC’s report, prosecutor Matthew Frank told the court ahead of the sentencing that Kueng “was not simply a bystander in what happened that day”, but instead played an “active part”.
Kueng’s defence attorney Thomas Plunkett argued that city and police officials “failed” Floyd, Kueng, and the community alike.
In a statement, attorneys representing George Floyd’s family stated that the sentencing represents “yet another piece of justice for the Floyd family”.
“While the family faces yet another holiday season without George, we hope that moments like these continue to bring them a measure of peace, knowing that George’s death was not in vain,” the statement added, as per the BBC.