Crime: 2 cops face sentencing for violating George Floyd's rights

Former Minneapolis police officer faces sentencing in George Floyd killing

  Former Minneapolis police officer faces sentencing in George Floyd killing Former Minneapolis police officer Thomas Lane will be sentenced in federal court on Thursday morning for violating George Floyd's civil rights. Lane, 39, is one of three former Minneapolis police officers who were convicted earlier this year of depriving Floyd of his right to medical care as the handcuffed, unarmed 46-year-old Black man was pinned under the knee of their senior office, Derek Chauvin, for more than nine minutes on May 25, 2020. Floyd's videotaped killing in Minneapolis sparked anti-racism protests and calls for police reform across the United States and around the world.

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The last two former Minneapolis police officers to be sentenced for violating George Floyd's civil rights are scheduled to learn their penalties Wednesday, which could set in motion another round of plea deal discussions in state court over a killing that sparked a reckoning on racial injustice.

FILE - This photo provided by the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office in Minnesota on June 3, 2020, shows former Minneapolis Police Officer Tou Thao. U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson handed J. Alexander Kueng and Thao a victory when he ruled that the complex formulas for calculating their sentences will use the crime of involuntary manslaughter, rather than murder, as a starting point. Magnuson will sentence the men in back-to-back hearings Wednesday, July 27, 2022, after they were convicted of violating George Floyd's civil rights when Officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee into Floyd's neck for 9 1/2 minutes as the 46-year-old Black man was handcuffed and facedown on the street on May 25, 2020. (Hennepin County Sheriff's Office via AP, File) © Provided by Associated Press FILE - This photo provided by the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office in Minnesota on June 3, 2020, shows former Minneapolis Police Officer Tou Thao. U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson handed J. Alexander Kueng and Thao a victory when he ruled that the complex formulas for calculating their sentences will use the crime of involuntary manslaughter, rather than murder, as a starting point. Magnuson will sentence the men in back-to-back hearings Wednesday, July 27, 2022, after they were convicted of violating George Floyd's civil rights when Officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee into Floyd's neck for 9 1/2 minutes as the 46-year-old Black man was handcuffed and facedown on the street on May 25, 2020. (Hennepin County Sheriff's Office via AP, File)

J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao were convicted in February of two counts of violating Floyd's civil rights in the 2020 slaying. The jury found they deprived the 46-year-old Black man of medical care and failed to stop Derek Chauvin as he knelt on Floyd's neck for 9 1/2 minutes while Floyd gasped for air.

two and a half years in prison for one of the police officers who remained passive during the murder of George Floyd

 two and a half years in prison for one of the police officers who remained passive during the murder of George Floyd © Handout Thomas Lane (right) is the first of the three police officers, having attended Derek Chauvin during the arrest that led to The death of George Floyd, to know his sentence. AFP/Handout/Hennepin County Jail An American policeman, colleague of Derek Chauvin The murderer of George Floyd , was sentenced this and a half years in prison this and a half years to have remained passive during the murder of this African-American, who had upset the world in 2020 .

Kueng held Floyd’s back, former Officer Thomas Lane held his feet and Thao kept back bystanders, some of whom recorded video that led to worldwide protests.

Chauvin, who pleaded guilty last year to violating Floyd's civil rights and the civil rights of a teenager in an unrelated case, was sentenced to 21 years in federal prison. Lane, who twice asked if Floyd should be rolled onto his side so he could breathe, was convicted of one count and was sentenced to 2 1/2.

Prosecutors have not made specific recommendations for Kueng and Thao's sentence, but have requested less time than Chauvin and “substantially” more than Lane. Thao’s attorney is asking for two years; Kueng’s request is sealed.

Kueng and Thao got a victory last week when U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson issued rulings that affect how their federal sentences will be calculated and could mean far less prison time. The rulings — particularly one that cross-references their crimes with involuntary manslaughter instead of murder — mean the men head into Wednesday's hearing with a recommended range of 4 1/4 years to 5 1/4 years. They might have faced a life sentence.

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FILE - This June 3, 2020 file photo provided by the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office in Minnesota, shows J. Alexander Kueng. U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson handed Kueng and Tou Thao a victory when he ruled that the complex formulas for calculating their sentences will use the crime of involuntary manslaughter, rather than murder, as a starting point. Magnuson will sentence the men in back-to-back hearings Wednesday, July 27, 2022, after they were convicted of violating George Floyd's civil rights when Officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee into Floyd's neck for 9 1/2 minutes as the 46-year-old Black man was handcuffed and facedown on the street on May 25, 2020. (Hennepin County Sheriff's Office via AP, File) © Provided by Associated Press FILE - This June 3, 2020 file photo provided by the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office in Minnesota, shows J. Alexander Kueng. U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson handed Kueng and Tou Thao a victory when he ruled that the complex formulas for calculating their sentences will use the crime of involuntary manslaughter, rather than murder, as a starting point. Magnuson will sentence the men in back-to-back hearings Wednesday, July 27, 2022, after they were convicted of violating George Floyd's civil rights when Officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee into Floyd's neck for 9 1/2 minutes as the 46-year-old Black man was handcuffed and facedown on the street on May 25, 2020. (Hennepin County Sheriff's Office via AP, File)

“It made a huge difference,” Mark Osler, a professor at the University of St. Thomas School of Law and former federal prosecutor, said. “The impact of it is already baked in now.”

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Osler said one key is if Magnuson determines that Kueng and Thao were “minor” or “minimal” participants in the crime. Magnuson found Lane was a minimal participant, resulting in a lower sentence. Osler said a minor participant would be more culpable.

“You have one officer who at least made some effort to change the trajectory, and that's Lane. You have one most directly involved in the killing of George Floyd, and that’s Derek Chauvin — and then you have these two in the middle,” Osler said.

The potential for lower sentences for Kueng and Thao raises questions about whether they will consider a plea deal or risk trial Oct. 24 in state court, where they face counts of aiding and abetting second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

Osler said once the men know what their federal sentence is, they will likely seek a plea deal on the state charges that won't exceed the federal sentence and will let them serve the sentences concurrently.

Kueng and Thao can still appeal their federal convictions. If they plead guilty in state court, any federal appeal would be moot, said Mike Brandt, a criminal defense attorney who has been following the case. But it's also hard to win a federal appeal, he said.

2 former cops convicted in George Floyd's death set to be sentenced

  2 former cops convicted in George Floyd's death set to be sentenced It's sentencing day for two former police officers convicted on federal charges stemming from George Floyd's death. Former Minneapolis police officers J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao are scheduled to learn their fates in separate hearings on Wednesday in U.S. District Court in St. Paul, Minnesota.

“Those are some of the calculuses they are going to have to make in terms of, `Do I go to trial and risk something worse? Do I think I have a good shot at appeal on the federal case?'" Brandt said.

Kueng, who is Black, and Thao, who is Hmong American, likely will remain free on bond after Wednesday sentencing and be allowed to self-report to prison, especially since they have a pending trial and will need to be in contact with their attorneys and be present for court proceedings.

Lane, who is white, pleaded guilty to a state charge of aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter and is awaiting sentencing in that case. He was allowed to remain free on bond after his federal sentencing.

Chauvin, who is white, was convicted of second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in state court and is serving a 22 1/2-year state sentence. His federal and state sentences are being served simultaneously.

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Find AP’s full coverage of the killing of George Floyd at: https://apnews.com/hub/death-of-george-floyd

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