The former Minneapolis police officer who kneeled on George Floyd’s back while another officer kneeled on the Black man’s neck is expected to be sentenced Friday to 3 1/2 years in prison for manslaughter.
J. Alexander Kueng pleaded guilty in October to a state count of aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter. The plea came on the same day jury selection was set to begin in his trial. His guilty plea — along with another officer’s decision to let a judge decide his fate — averted what would have been the third long and painful trial over Floyd’s killing.
Floyd died on May 25, 2020, after former Officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on Floyd’s neck for 9 1/2 minutes as Floyd repeatedly said he couldn’t breathe and eventually went limp. The killing, which was recorded on video by a bystander, sparked worldwide protests as part of a broader reckoning over racial injustice.
Kueng kneeled on Floyd’s back during the restraint. Then-Officer Thomas Lane held Floyd’s legs and Tou Thao, also an officer at the time, kept bystanders from intervening. All of the officers were fired and faced state and federal charges.
Kueng, who is already serving a federal sentence for violating Floyd’s civil rights, will appear at Friday’s sentencing hearing via video from a low-security federal prison in Ohio. Kueng has the right to make a statement, but it’s not known if he will.
Floyd’s family members also have the right to make victim impact statements.