After Chauvin, Minnesota set to prosecute three other officers in Floyd death

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MINNEAPOLIS (Reuters) — With the conviction of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd on Tuesday, prosecutors will begin turning their attention to making their case against three others who took part in the fatal arrest.

Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane, all of whom were fired and arrested days after Floyd died last May, face charges at a trial on Aug. 23 that they aided and abetted second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter of Floyd.

Aiding and abetting murder is punishable by up to 40 years in prison, although sentencing guidelines can reduce the maximum to 15 years.

The following is a summary of Minnesota prosecutors’ allegations against each of the men, all of whom are free on $750,000 bail:

ALEXANDER KUENG, 27

Kueng and Lane were the first officers to arrive outside the food store where Floyd was accused of passing a counterfeit $20 bill to buy cigarettes. Kueng had graduated from the police academy in 2019 and started as an officer in December.

During the fatal encounter, prosecutors said Kueng was between Chauvin and Lane, kneeling on Floyd’s back, with his hand on Floyd’s handcuffed left wrist.

After Floyd became unresponsive, it was Kueng who checked the right wrist for a pulse and said, “I couldn’t find one,” prosecutors said in their complaint. None of the officers moved from their positions, the complaint said.

THOMAS LANE, 38

Having arrived at the scene with Kueng, it was Lane who ordered Floyd out of his car and handcuffed him, prosecutors said. He had been on the police force for only a matter of days.

Chauvin, Kueng and Lane each used their weight to restrain Floyd on the ground after he balked at getting into the back of a squad car. Lane was positioned on his legs, “kneeling on them and pressing them down with his hands,” according to the complaint.

At one point, Lane asked, “Should we roll him on his side?” Chauvin responded: “No, staying put where we got him.” Lane then said, “I am worried about excited delirium or whatever,” to which Chauvin said, “That’s why we have him on his stomach.”

TOU THAO, 35

Thao, who had rejoined the force in 2012 after losing his job to layoffs as a rookie in 2009, arrived on the scene with Chauvin after Floyd had already been handcuffed.

Although Thao was the only one of the four officers who was not in physical contact with Floyd, prosecutors said he had a direct look at how Chauvin and the others were restraining him.

Thao stood watch over the onlookers who were gathering at the scene, keeping himself positioned between them and the three other officers who were on Floyd’s prone body.

When a bystander stepped off the curb, “imploring Chauvin to get off of Mr. Floyd, (Thao) put his hands on the citizen to keep him back,” the complaint said.

© 2021 Thomson Reuters.

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May 30 2021 11:45 am