Officer who knelt on George Floyd’s back sentenced

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Another involved officer will face a bench trial.

ByKiara Alfonseca
December 10, 2022, 2:33 AM

J. Alexander Kueng, a former Minneapolis police officer who knelt on George Floyd’s back during the fatal May 2020 arrest, was sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison Friday.

Kueng, 29, had pleaded guilty to one count of aiding and abetting in second-degree manslaughter in October as part of an agreement with prosecutors. A second charge of aiding and abetting in second-degree unintentional murder will be dismissed against Kueng as part of his plea agreement.

“We appreciate very much that Mr. Kueng plead guilty,” said prosecutor Matthew Frank at the sentencing.

“We hope the conclusion of this case reaffirms that peace officers cannot treat citizens in crisis as non-people, or second-class citizens,” Frank added.

The plea was announced just as a joint state trial for Kueng and Tou Thao, another officer, was to begin with jury selection.

PHOTO: Protesters gathered outside of the Minnesota Governorâs Residence for a rally remembering the 2nd anniversary of the murder of George Floyd.
Protesters gathered outside of the Minnesota Governorâs Residence for a rally remembering the 2nd anniversary of the murder of George Floyd.
Anadolu Agency via Getty Images, FILE

“J. Alexander Kueng is now the second officer involved in Floyd’s death to accept responsibility through a guilty plea. That acknowledgement hopefully can bring comfort to Floyd’s family and bring our communities closer to a new era of accountability and justice,” Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison said in an October statement on the plea deal.

Floyd’s death ignited protests nationwide against police brutality and systemic racism.

“We must never forget the horror of what we all saw in that 9-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,” said the legal team for George Floyd’s family, led by civil rights attorney Ben Crump, in an October statement on Kueng’s plea deal in October.

Both Kueng and Thao, 34, are currently serving federal sentences after being convicted in February on federal charges of violating Floyd’s civil rights. Kueng’s sentence from today will be served concurrently with his federal sentence.

 

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