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‘Floyd’s death could have been prevented’: Final 2 officers involved in George Floyd’s death sentenced to prison

Each officer will spend at least three years in prison for denying Floyd his civil rights

SHARE ‘Floyd’s death could have been prevented’: Final 2 officers involved in George Floyd’s death sentenced to prison

A boy walks past a mural depicting George Floyd in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles, Tuesday, June 9, 2020.

Jae C. Hong, Associated Press

Former Minneapolis police officers J. Alexander Kueng and Tao Thao have been sentenced to three and three-and-a-half years, respectively, for their involvement in the death of George Floyd, the Department of Justice announced Wednesday.

Details: The judge stated that Thao and Kueng violated Floyd’s civil rights by failing to stop fellow officer Derek Chauvin from using excessive force. 

  • “Former officers Thao and Kueng each had an individual duty and opportunity to intervene in the excessive force that resulted in the agonizing death of Mr. Floyd, but both men failed to take any action,” said Andrew Luger, attorney for the District of Minnesota.
  • While Chauvin — sentenced earlier this month to more than 20 years in prison — pinned Floyd’s neck with his knee, Kueng held him by his feet as Thao held back bystanders.mas Lane
  • Thomas Lane, a fourth officer involved in the incident, was sentenced on July 21 to 30 months in prison.

  • Why it matters: The death of Floyd, a Black man, sparked protests across the U.S. against the perceived impunity some law enforcement agents enjoy despite using excessive force. To some, the sentences are proof of progress in holding officers accountable, but others think more needs to be done. 
  • These convictions were made following President Joe Biden’s executive order to advance effective and accountable policing following Floyd’s death. 
  • Floyd’s family states that Chauvin’s two-decade sentence is not sufficient, however they are optimistic that it will be a cause for change. 

Key quote: “The federal prosecution of all officers tied to the death of George Floyd should send a clear and powerful message that the Department of Justice will never tolerate the unlawful abuse of power or victimization of Americans by anyone in law enforcement,” said Kristin Clark, assistant attorney general of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.