Former Minneapolis officer pleads guilty to abetting murder of George Floyd | George Floyd

One of two former Minneapolis police officers charged with aiding and abetting the murder of George Floyd, the black man whose violent death sparked street protests around the world, has pleaded guilty as part of a agreement with prosecutors hours before jury selection in his trial was to begin.

J Alexander Kueng pleaded guilty on Monday to aiding and abetting second degree manslaughter in the murder of Floyd. As part of the deal, Keung will serve 3.5 years in prison to run alongside a previous three-year sentence he received in a federal trial, albeit a more serious charge of aiding and abetting. of second degree murder is now dropped.

The second officer, Tou Thao, has rejected a plea deal and will continue his trial. He told a judge in August that pleading guilty would be a “lie and a sin”.

Floyd, 46, was murdered on May 25, 2020 after Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who is white, knelt on his neck for more than nine minutes while handcuffed and pinned to the ground . The victim repeatedly exclaimed during this time that she could not breathe.

The killing, caught on a bystander’s phone camera, caused widespread shock and revulsion and sparked a summer of protests across the United States and in several countries around the world. Chauvin was convicted of second degree murder and sentenced in June 2021 to 22.5 years in prison.

He later pleaded guilty to a federal charge that he violated Floyd’s civil rights and is simultaneously serving 21 years for it in federal prison in Tucson, Arizona.

As Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck, a group of other officers participated in aspects of the botched arrest. Kueng, who is black, knelt on Floyd’s back and, in his plea agreement, admitted he knew from his training that it was dangerous and unreasonable.

Thao, a Hmong American, acted as a human barricade between bystanders who questioned the police action and Floyd lying on the ground. In February, he was convicted on federal charges of violating Floyd’s civil rights by denying him medical care and failing to stop Chauvin from killing him.

Another officer, Thomas Lane, who is white, held Floyd down by his legs. He was also convicted of the federal charges and pleaded guilty in state court in May.

Lane was sentenced to three years for aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter and 2.5 years for violating Floyd’s civil rights. The penalties run simultaneously.

In the trial scheduled for Monday, Thao rejected a jury verdict. Instead, he opted for Judge Peter Cahill to decide his fate based on evidence presented by his defense attorneys and prosecutors.

If convicted of aiding and abetting second degree unintentional murder, he could face a sentence of up to 12.5 years in prison.

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