Updated as of 7/27/2022 at 4:00 p.m.
Former Minneapolis police officers Tou Thao and J. Alexander Kueng were sentenced to three years in federal court for violating George Floyd’s civil rights Wednesday, according to CNN. Their state trial was previously delayed to January 2023.
What could’ve been life in prison has now turned to a slap on the wrist. But at the very least, all the cops involved in George Floyd’s murder are doing time.
A jury determined Thao, Kueng, and former cop Thomas Lane deprived Floyd of medical care and failed to stop their colleague, Derek Chauvin, who knelt on Floyd’s neck for nearly 10 minutes. In state court, Thao and Kueng face charges for aiding and abetting second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill move their state trial date on concerns of jury selection.
Two years after the world saw footage of George Floyd lose his life at the hands of Minneapolis police, policies have been passed to encourage states to consider serious police reform. However, the one way to really see justice prevail is a solid conviction.
More on the sentencing from CNN:
Courteney Ross, Floyd’s girlfriend, addressed both former officers in court.
“I will never forget you speaking to the onlookers when you said, ‘This is why you don’t do drugs,’” she said to Thao. “No one deserves to be treated as less. That’s not how Floyd treated others.”
Both Kueng and Thao also will be ordered to pay a $200 special assessment and will placed on supervised release for 2 years after serving their prison terms.
In court Wednesday, the judge said that Kueng was a new officer who deferred to the authority of a “much more senior officer.” Magnuson wrote in a court filing last week that Kueng and Thao “each made a tragic misdiagnosis in their assessment” of Floyd.
“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.
Their buddy, Thomas Lane, was previously sentenced for the same federal charges but was only given two years in prison for his “minimal” role in the situation. Kueng and Thao can appeal their federal convictions but it would be hard to do if they plead guilty to the harsher, state charges.
Derek Chauvin pleaded guilty to violating Floyd’s civil rights and is serving over 20 years in federal prison, reports say.
There’s no telling if the delay to Thao and Kueng’s state trial will help them or hurt them but it seems their federal sentence will look a lot like Lane’s.