Former Minnesota policeman pleads guilty in George Floyd case

J Alexander Kueng was one of the officers who did not intervene when Derek Chauvin knelt on Floyd's neck

Former Minneapolis police officer J Alexander Kueng, left, and his lawyer, Thomas Plunkett. AP
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A former Minneapolis police officer charged in connection with the murder of George Floyd pleaded guilty on Monday as his trial was about to begin, a court representative confirmed.

J Alexander Kueng, who pleaded guilty in state court to one count of aiding and abetting manslaughter, was one of three officers who did not intervene when Derek Chauvin, a white policeman, knelt on Floyd's neck for more than nine minutes in May 2020, killing him.

Kueng and Thomas Lane helped Chauvin restrain Floyd, an unarmed black man, while another officer, Tou Thao, kept bystanders from approaching the scene.

All three were previously convicted in federal court of depriving Floyd of his civil rights and sentenced in July to between two and a half and three and a half years in prison.

Chauvin was convicted of murder in a state trial and sentenced to 22.5 years. He also pleaded guilty to related federal charges and is serving a federal sentence of 21 years concurrently.

Floyd's death sparked months of nationwide protests over police brutality.

Kueng's plea agreement includes a sentence of three and a half years that will be served concurrently with his federal sentence, said Matt Lehman, a spokesman for Hennepin County District Court.

Lane accepted a similar plea deal in May.

The Minnesota attorney general's office, which is prosecuting the case, and Kueng's defence team did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Mr Thao, who rejected a comparable agreement in August, decided on Monday to waive his right to a jury trial, The Star Tribune newspaper reported. Instead, Thao agreed to have a state judge determine his guilt based on evidence submitted jointly by prosecutors and the defence.

Updated: October 24, 2022, 4:57 PM