Two rookie Minneapolis police officers who failed to intervene or offer medical help when their colleague, Derek Chauvin, murdered George Floyd were given three and three-and-a-half year federal prison sentences Wednesday for violating Floyd’s civil rights, the Associated Press reported.
U.S District Judge Paul Manguson, who has been overseeing cases related to Floyd’s death, sentenced former Minneapolis police officer J. Alexander Kueng to three years in prison, while former officer Tou Thao was given three and a half years.
In February, both former officers were found guilty in federal court of violating Floyd’s rights by not providing him with medical aid or intervening when Chauvin kneeled on Floyd for almost 10 minutes.
At trial, prosecutors argued the officers were trained to intervene if their colleagues used excessive force, but the defendants said they deferred to Chauvin.
In May 2020, video of Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes as he pleaded for help before he died circulated on social media and sparked the global Black Lives Matter movement that summer. Chauvin was convicted of murder in state court in April 2021 and sentenced to 22 and a half years in prison (he has appealed that verdict). Earlier this month, he was also sentenced by a federal court to 20 years for violating the civil rights of both Floyd and a 14-year-old boy who was also Black and whose case was similar to Floyd’s, though he survived the 2017 incident. Chauvin will serve both sentences concurrently. Fellow former Minneapolis police officer Thomas Lane, who was also on the scene of Floyd’s death, received 2.5 years last week for violating Floyd’s civil rights. Lane held Floyd’s legs while Chauvin pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck and killed him.
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Both former officers will return to trial Oct. 24 on state charges of aiding and abetting murder and manslaughter.