Former Minneapolis Police Officers Tou Thao and J. Alexander Kueng Sentenced to Prison for Depriving George Floyd of His Constitutional Rights
St. Paul, Minn. - The Justice Department announced today that former Minneapolis Police Officer Thomas Lane, 39, was sentenced to serve 30 months in prison and two years of supervised release for depriving George Floyd Jr., of his constitutional rights.
On Feb. 24, 2022, following a trial that lasted nearly five weeks, a federal jury in St. Paul, Minnesota, found Lane guilty of depriving Floyd of his constitutional right to be free from a police officer’s deliberate indifference to serious medical needs when Lane saw Floyd restrained in police custody in clear need of medical care and willfully failed to aid him. The jury found that Lane’s failure to act resulted in bodily injury to and the death of Floyd. This offense is a violation of the federal criminal civil rights statute that prohibits willful violations of civil rights by a person, such as a police officer, acting in an official capacity. Lane was sentenced today in U.S. District Court by Senior Judge Paul A. Magnuson.
The same jury also found former Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) Officers Tou Thao and J. Alexander Kueng guilty of depriving Floyd of his constitutional right to be free from an officer’s unreasonable force when Thao and Kueng each willfully failed to intervene to stop former MPD Officer Derek Chauvin’s use of unreasonable force, resulting in bodily injury to and the death of Floyd. Thao and Kueng were also found to have deprived Floyd of his constitutional right to be free from a police officer’s deliberate indifference to Floyd’s serious medical needs, resulting in bodily injury to and the death of Floyd. A sentencing hearing for Thao and Kueng has not yet been scheduled.
Former Officer Derek Chauvin previously pleaded guilty to depriving Floyd and a then-14-year-old child of their constitutional rights in violation of the same federal statute. On July 7, 2022, Chauvin was sentenced to 252 months in prison for those crimes.
“The tragic death of George Floyd makes clear the fatal consequences that can result from a police officer’s failure to intervene to protect people in their custody,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “Had this defendant and other officers on the scene with Derek Chauvin taken simple steps, George Floyd would be alive today. This sentence should send a message that protecting people in custody is the affirmative duty and obligation of every law enforcement officer, regardless of one’s rank or seniority.”
“In the critical last minutes of George Floyd’s life, former officer Lane understood the seriousness of the situation,” said U.S. Attorney Andrew M. Luger of the District of Minnesota. “He knew that Mr. Floyd was in grave need of medical care, but he chose passivity rather than action. As a sworn law enforcement officer, he failed to uphold his duty to step in and save a man’s life.”
This case was investigated by the FBI and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. It was prosecuted by Special Litigation Counsel Samantha Trepel and Trial Attorney Tara Allison of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Samantha Bates, LeeAnn Bell, Evan Gilead, Manda Sertich and Allen Slaughter for the District of Minnesota.
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