(Reuters) – Two former Minneapolis officers are due to be sentenced on Wednesday on federal charges stemming from their role in the 2020 death of George Floyd, an incident that sparked protests around the globe against police brutality and racism.
Tou Thao and J. Alexander Kueng – and a third officer, Thomas Lane – were found guilty by a federal jury in February of depriving Floyd of his civil rights by not coming to his aid as their former colleague Derek Chauvin pinned his neck to the ground with a knee. Floyd was a Black man and Chauvin is white.
U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson is scheduled to sentence Kueng at 10 a.m. and Thao at 11 a.m. local time in a St. Paul courtroom.
Prosecutors have asked the judge to give the men longer sentences than the 2-1/2 years he gave to Lane and less than the 20 years and 5 months he gave Chauvin for violating Floyd’s civil rights.
The four officers were called to a Minneapolis grocery store on May 25, 2020, and tried to take Floyd into custody on suspicion he used a fake $20 bill to buy cigarettes.
During the incident, Chauvin – the senior officer on the scene – was captured on a bystander’s cellphone video pinning Floyd’s neck to the ground for more than nine minutes, causing his death.
Federal prosecutors argued that the three men knew from their training and from “basic human decency” that they had a duty to help Floyd as he begged for his life before falling limp beneath Chauvin’s knee.
Chauvin was also convicted of intentional second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in a state trial in 2021. He is serving a concurrent sentence of 22-1/2 years on that conviction.
Lane in May pleaded guilty to state aiding and abetting manslaughter charges and agreed to a sentence of three years in prison. A state trial is scheduled to be begin in January for Thao and Kueng.
(Reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Chicago; Editing by Mark Porter)
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