A former Minneapolis police officer on Friday was sentenced to three and half years in prison for his involvement in the death of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man who was killed when a fellow police officer knelt on his neck for more than nine minutes in May 2020.
J. Alexander Kueng, who pleaded guilty in October to one count of aiding and abetting manslaughter, appeared for the sentencing hearing in Hennepin County District Court through a video link from a federal prison in Ohio.
Kueng was one of four officers who were called to a Minneapolis grocery store on May 25, 2020, and tried to take Floyd into custody on suspicion that he used a fake $20 bill to buy cigarettes.
During the encounter, the senior officer on the scene, Derek Chauvin, pinned the handcuffed Floyd’s neck to the ground with a knee, causing his death.
Kueng, 29, and fellow officer Thomas Lane helped Chauvin restrain Floyd, while another officer, Tou Thao, kept bystanders from approaching the scene.
A video of the incident circulating on social media helped spark demonstrations against police brutality and racism across the nation and in large cities around the globe.
Chauvin was convicted of murder in a state trial and sentenced to 22-1/2 years. He also pleaded guilty to related federal charges and is serving a federal sentence of 21 years concurrently.
The three other officers were convicted in federal court of depriving Floyd of his civil rights and sentenced in July to between 2-1/2 and 3-1/2 years in prison.
Kueng’s plea agreement on the charge includes a sentence of 3-1/2 years to be served concurrently with his three-year federal sentence, a spokesperson for Hennepin County District Court said in October.