Ex-Officers In Fatal George Floyd Arrest Kueng And Thao's Sentences Explained

On May 25, 2020, police officers in Minneapolis arrested a 46-year-old Black man named George Floyd after a convenience store employee claimed that Floyd attempted to purchase cigarettes using a fake $20 bill. During the arrest, police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on Floyd's neck for more than 9 minutes while the man struggled to breathe. Two other officers helped restrain Floyd, while another kept the crowd from intervening, as reported by The New York Times. Floyd died while being arrested, and the incident was filmed by bystanders.

The murder of Floyd caused outrage, and protests and demonstrations were held in different parts of the country (via NPR). The four police officers involved were fired from the department and charged with the death of Floyd. Dr. Andrew Baker, the medical examiner who performed the autopsy, stated that the compression to Floyd's neck caused his lungs and heart to stop; he deemed the manner of death a homicide.

Ex-officers' sentences

The first police officer who was handed a sentence in the death of George Floyd was Derek Chauvin, who was seen in the video kneeling on the former's neck. According to the Department of Justice, Chauvin pleaded guilty to violating Floyd's civil rights by using unreasonable force to detain him, causing his death. Chauvin also admitted that he failed to provide medical help to Floyd despite noticing his need for assistance. In state court, Chauvin was sentenced to 22 years in prison, which he has appealed. In addition, the federal court sentenced him to 21 years in prison.

Thomas K. Lane, another officer who was at the scene, was sentenced to 30 months in prison for violating Floyd's civil rights. In the video of Floyd's arrest, Lane was seen holding down the man's legs as he struggled to breathe. As reported by The Washington Post, the jury found Lane guilty of failing to give medical assistance to Floyd even after hearing him complain of not being able to breathe.

J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao's sentences

Former police officers J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao were the final ones to receive their sentences. Kueng was involved in restraining George Floyd, while Thao kept bystanders from interfering during the arrest. Based on evidence, the judge said that both Kueng and Thao thought that Floyd was delirious due to drugs, but he stated that they improperly assessed the situation, which led to the tragedy, according to CNN. Kueng, who was new to the police department at the time of Floyd's arrest, testified that he looked to Chauvin for guidance, as he was the senior officer. Thau, on the other hand, stated that he trusted that Chauvin knew what he was doing. "I think I would trust a 19-year veteran to figure it out," he testified in court. Both Kueng and Thao were found guilty of depriving medical care and failing to intervene.

Kueng was sentenced to three years in federal prison, while Thao was given three-and-a-half years. Both ex-officers were given two years of supervised release added to their sentence, as noted by Rolling Stone. Kueng and Thao will also be tried in state court for charges of manslaughter, murder, and aiding and abetting. The trials are scheduled to take place in January 2023.