A former US police officer has been sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison for his role in the death of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man whose killing in 2020 sparked the “Black Lives Matter” movement across the country.
In October, J Alexander Kueng, a former Minneapolis police officer, had pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter, and in exchange, a charge of aiding and abetting murder was dropped.
He is already serving a federal sentence for violating Floyd’s civil rights, and the state and federal sentences will be served at the same time.
Kueng appeared via a video from the US Bureau of Prisons Elkton facility in Lisbon, Ohio, while his prison sentence was being read out.
When asked if he had any remarks, Kueng said, “Nothing your honour, thank you.”
Attorneys Ben Crump, Antonio Romanucci and Jeff Storms, who represent Floyd’s family, hailed the verdict.
“The sentencing of Alexander Kueng for his role in the murder of George Floyd delivers yet another piece of justice for the Floyd family,” they said in a statement.
“While the family faces yet another holiday season without George, we hope that moments like these continue to bring them a measure of peace, knowing that George’s death was not in vain,” the statement added.
Kueng was among the four officers who were fired and criminally charged after Floyd’s death.
A video captured by a bystander showed 46-year-old Floyd desperately pleading to the officers while being restrained to let him breathe before he lost consciousness and died. Kueng was seen kneeling on Flyod’s neck for more than nine minutes before he passed out.
The killing sparked worldwide protests against racial injustice and the use of force by the police.
In his plea agreement, Keung admitted that he knew from his training that restraining a handcuffed person in a prone position came with serious risks and that using the technique on Floyd was unreasonable under the circumstances, reports AP news agency.
(With inputs from agencies)