Former Minneapolis Police Officers J. Alexander Kueng, Tou Thao Reject Plea Deal in George Floyd Killing

Former Minneapolis police officers J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao formally rejected a plea deal in court on Aug. 15, paving the way for their trial in the killing of George Floyd to begin.

Kueng and Thao told Judge Peter Cahill that they have rejected the deal offered by state prosecutors for their role in Floyd’s death, according to Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison’s Deputy Chief of Staff John Stiles.

The deal would have allowed both men to avoid a state trial and additional prison time from their federal civil rights sentence.

Kueng and Thao’s trial is set to begin on Oct. 24 in Hennepin County.

Kueng and Thao are charged with aiding and abetting second-degree unintentional murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter in the fatal arrest of Floyd in May 2020.

Kueng and Thao pleaded not guilty.

If found guilty on both counts, Kueng and Thao face up to 16 years in prison based on Minnesota sentencing guidelines.

Prosecutors are asking the court to give a longer sentence, citing aggravating factors.

Kueng held down Floyd’s torso while Thao kept back a crowd of bystanders nearby during the arrest on May 25, 2020.

Then-officer Derek Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck for over nine minutes. Chauvin was convicted of murder and was sentenced to more than 22 years in prison. He pleaded guilty to violating Floyd’s civil rights in December and has been sentenced to 21 years in prison.

The plea deal offered to Kueng and Thao is the same offer that former officer Thomas Lane accepted earlier this year, according to Stiles and court spokesperson Matt Lehman.

Lane pleaded guilty in June to aiding and betting on second-degree manslaughter and is set to be sentenced on Sept. 21.

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