MINNEAPOLIS ( Associated Press) – Federal prosecutors on Wednesday asked a judge on Wednesday to sentence one of the four former Minneapolis police officers convicted of civil rights violations in George Floyd’s murder to as much as 6 1/2 years in prison, but to to impose significantly stricter yet unspecified sentences. two others.
They urged U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson to follow the non-binding federal sentencing guidelines for former officer Thomas Lane and impose a sentence of between 5 1/4 and 6 1/2 years in prison.
Prosecutors also said former officer J. Alexander Kueng deserved a “significantly higher” sentence than Lane’s, but less than the 20 to 25 years Derek Chauvin is expected to receive. And they said they would seek a “comparable” sentence if Kueng’s for former officer Tou Thao.
Both Lane and Kueng helped keep Floyd in check on the night of May 2020 when Chauvin, who is white, killed Floyd, a Black man, by kneeling on his neck for more than nine minutes despite Floyd’s flimsy pleas. that he could not breathe. Thao helped hold back a crowd of worried bystanders.
The assassination sparked immediate protests in Minneapolis that spread across the U.S. and beyond in a settlement over police brutality and discrimination against people of color.
Chauvin reached a plea agreement in December that requires a sentence of 20 to 25 years. Prosecutors have been looking for him for 25 years. Thao, Kueng and Lane went on trial and were convicted in February on related federal civil rights charges. Lane is white, Kueng is African American and Thao is Asian American.
Prosecutors told Kueng in a sentencing note that “several factors weigh heavily in favor of a lengthy prison sentence” for him.
They cited Kueng’s “abuse of state power,” his “lack of acceptance of responsibility, including his (sometimes obstructive and unbelievable) trial testimony,” the need to deter other officers from assisting when colleagues abuse abusers who do not resist. does not offer. , and the need for consistency with other cases of officers accused of failing to intervene to protect an arrested person from abuse.
Prosecutors noted how it was established during the trial that Kueng “a helpful firefighter from Mr. Floyd turned away and Lane’s questions about whether Mr. Floyd on his side should be rolled, dismissed. He personally judged that Mr. Floyd did not have a pulse, and then did nothing about it. “
And they said that some of Kueng’s testimony “directly and blatantly contradicts other, irrefutable evidence presented at trial” in ways that amount to perjury, especially because it relates to whether Kueng knew that Floyd ” had a serious medical need. “
Prosecutors indicated they would set out different reasons for a similar sentence for Thao in a separate memo not submitted by Wednesday night.
In a sentencing note for Lane, prosecutors said a penalty within the federal guidelines range would be appropriate, but no less so as the defense seeks. They said Lane’s failure to provide assistance that could save Floyd had “serious consequences” for Floyd and the wider community.
Lane and Thao’s lawyers have not yet submitted their sentencing recommendations. A filing outlining what Kueng is looking for was not available to the public on Wednesday, but his lawyer submitted another document on Wednesday indicating that he would demand a sentence under the guideline.
Magnuson did not set the sentencing dates for the four former officers. The federal civil rights cases were separate from the state charges of murder and manslaughter against them.
Chauvin was convicted in the state court last year of second-degree murder and sentenced to 22 1/2 years. Lane accepted a plea agreement in May on a state charge of aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter and is awaiting sentencing on that charge. Thao and Kueng, who had earlier rejected plea agreements, are scheduled to stand trial on Oct. 24 on state charges of aiding and abetting both second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.