J. Alexander Kueng, the former Minneapolis police officer who held George Floyd to the ground while his colleague Derek Chauvin crushed the African American’s neck with his knee, was sentenced to three and a half years in prison.
Kueng pleaded guilty in October and has already been federally convicted of violating Floyd’s civil rights. State and federal sentences will be served concurrently. Kueng watched the verdict read out via videoconference from the federal prison in Ohio, where he is currently being held.
George Floyd died on May 25, 2020, after former agent Chauvin crushed his neck to the ground for nine and a half minutes, despite the man repeatedly saying he couldn’t breathe. “I can’t breathe”, the phrase that over time has become the slogan associated with the Black Lives Matter movement in the United States. The killing, recorded on video by a passerby, in fact triggered a vast protest movement, which also culminated in episodes of violence.
Kueng knelt on Floyd’s back, while a third officer, Thomas Lane, blocked the man’s legs, and a fourth officer, Tou Thao, held off passers-by. All four were fired and charged at the state and federal levels.