Today (July 27), two former Minneapolis police officers, Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao, were sentenced to prison after thorough review of the May 2020 videotaped arrest that killed George Floyd. The court ruled that their actions violated Floyd’s civil rights and they failed to intervene to stop their colleague Derek Chauvin during the restraint.
Alexander Kueng received three years and Tou Thao was sentenced to 3 1/2 years. They are the remaining two of the four ex-officers previously employed by the Minneapolis Police Department who also faced charges for their role in Floyd’s death.
In court, Judge Paul A. Magnuson said that because Kueng was a new officer, he deferred to the authority of a “much more senior officer.” Magnuson also wrote in a court filing last week that Kueng and Thao “each made a tragic misdiagnosis in their assessment” of Floyd because they allegedly thought he was overdosed on drugs during the time of the arrest.
“The evidence showed that Kueng genuinely thought that Mr. Floyd was suffering from excited delirium with a drug overdose, and Thao genuinely believed that the officers were dealing with a drug overdose with possible excited delirium,” he wrote.
The fourth officer who was on the scene, Thomas Lane, was sentenced last week to 2 1/2 years in prison after being convicted of just one federal charge. Magnuson cited Lane had a “minimal role” in the incident. Kueng and Thao still face another trial, which is scheduled for Oct. 24 in state court, where they are charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
Earlier this month, Derek Chauvin was sentenced to more than 20 years in prison during a hearing, roughly seven months after pleading guilty to federal charges that he violated George Floyd’s civil rights during the arrest.