Ex-Minneapolis police officer gets 3 years for violating George Floyd’s civil rights

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Former Minneapolis police Officer J. Alexander Kueng was sentenced Wednesday to three years in federal prison for violating George Floyd’s civil rights.

The ruling comes more than two years after the killing of Floyd occurred in May 2020. Floyd’s upper airway was compressed after his hands were bound and a knee was pressed into his back, preventing him from being able to breathe. 

Kueng and his co-defendant Tou Thao were convicted in February of two counts of violating Floyd’s civil rights. Kueng, who is Black, was sentenced to three years on each count, to be served concurrently.

The jury found they deprived the 46-year-old Black man of medical care and failed to stop Derek Chauvin as he knelt on Floyd’s neck for 9 1/2 minutes. 

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Former Minneapolis police Officer J. Alexander Kueng was sentenced Wednesday to three years in federal prison for violating George Floyd’s civil rights.

Former Minneapolis police Officer J. Alexander Kueng was sentenced Wednesday to three years in federal prison for violating George Floyd’s civil rights. (Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office via AP, File)

Kueng held Floyd’s back, former Officer Thomas Lane held his feet and Thao kept back bystanders, some of whom recorded video that led to worldwide protests.

Thao was scheduled to be sentenced later Wednesday morning. Kueng and Thao, who is Hmong American, can still appeal their federal convictions.

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Lane, was sentenced Thursday to 30 months in federal prison for violating Floyd’s civil rights.

Chauvin, the officer who kneeled on Floyd’s back, was sentenced to more than 20 years in federal prison earlier this month.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.