Ex-Minneapolis Police Officer J. Alexander Kueng Pleads Guilty in George Floyd Killing
As the next trial for the police officers present during George Floyd‘s murder was set to start, one of the officers made a deal to serve less time.
According to CNN, Minnesota police officer J. Alexander Kueng, who was about to stand trial with fellow police officer, Tou Thao, for aiding and abetting second-degree unintentional murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter in the killing of Floyd, changed his plea before it began. Kueng pled guilty to manslaughter, and prosecutors dropped the charges for aiding and abetting in the killing of Floyd.
The former police officer must serve, at minimum, 28 out of the 42-month prison term. Reportedly, no fine will be assessed to him, but he will pay restitution, which will be determined by the court.
“The plea by former Minneapolis officer J. Alexander Kueng demonstrates that justice takes time to be secured but that, in this case, various measures of justice continue to be delivered for the family of George Floyd,” attorneys Ben Crump, Antonio Romanucci, and Jeff Storms said in a written statement on Monday.
“We must never forget the horror of what we all saw in that nine-minute video, and that there rightfully should be both accountability for all involved as well as deep lessons learned for police officers and communities everywhere.”
Hennepin County Judge, Peter Cahill, stated that Kueng won’t be sentenced until after Jan. 24.
Robert Paule, Thao’s attorney, told the judge that his client and prosecutors have decided to go forward with his trial by stipulated evidence. Paule and the prosecution team will submit evidence to the judge instead of in front of a jury, since Thao waived his right to a trial by jury.
Reportedly, both sides will submit evidence and written and closing arguments to Cahill by Nov. 17. Judge Cahill will then have 90 days to issue a sentence based on the documents. If the former police officer is convicted of aiding and abetting manslaughter, then prosecutors will drop his second charge. Thao will remain jailed in segregation in Hennepin County until the decision is made.
Last month, according to The Associated Press, former Minneapolis police officer, Thomas Lane, who is already serving a federal sentence of two-and-a-half years in prison, received a three-year sentence in a plea deal he made on a state charge in connection to Floyd’s murder. In exchange for Lane’s guilty plea, prosecutors dismissed the murder charge against him.
In July, Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer convicted of killing Floyd, was sentenced to 21 years in federal prison for violating Floyd’s civil rights. On Dec. 15, Chauvin pleaded guilty and admitted that he kept his knee on Floyd’s neck, even after he stopped moving, which resulted in his death on May 25, 2020. He admitted to willfully depriving Floyd of his right to be free from unreasonable seizure, including unreasonable force by a police officer.