J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao, two former Minneapolis police officers who were involved in George Floyd’s death, have been sentenced to prison, CBS News reports.
Thao, who held a group of bystanders back, was sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison. Kueng, who held down Floyd’s torso, was sentenced to three years in prison. Both men were found guilty of violating Floyd’s civil rights and failing to provide aid to him, CNN reports.
Federal prosecutors asked for Kueng and Thao to receive “significantly more” time than former officer Thomas Lane, who was recently sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison. Thao’s attorneys asked for 2 years.
In court, U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson said that Kueng was a rookie who looked to the authority of a “much more senior officer,” CNN reports. In a court filing submitted last week, Magnuson wrote that Kueng and Thao “each made a tragic misdiagnosis in their assessment” of Floyd.
“The evidence showed that Kueng genuinely thought that Mr. Floyd was suffering from excited delirium with a drug overdose, and Thao genuinely believed that the officers were dealing with a drug overdose with possible excited delirium,” Magnuson wrote in a court filing, CNN reports.
Though Kueng refused to speak in court, Thao made a statement. He said that he was “born again” after being in custody and quoted the Bible several times.
Floyd’s girlfriend, Courteney Ross, spoke during the hearing and addressed both former officers.
“I will never forget you speaking to the onlookers when you said, ‘This is why you don’t do drugs,'” she said to Thao. “No one deserves to be treated as less. That’s not how Floyd treated others.”