MINNEAPOLIS — A Hennepin County judge brought an end to a three-year-long quest for justice in the May 2020 murder of George Floyd earlier this month, handing down the final verdict for the last officer to face judgment over Floyd's death.
Derek Chauvin, Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane were all convicted in both state and federal court on various charges stemming from the events leading up to Floyd's death.
The details below outline a timeline from the day the officers were charged to their respective convictions and the subsequent outcomes and terms of their sentencing.
George Floyd, 46, died on May 25, 2020, after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who is white, used his knee to pin the Black man’s neck to the ground for more than 9 minutes.
A bystander video captured Floyd’s fading cries of, “I can’t breathe,” before his subsequent death, prompting worldwide protests — some of which turned violent — and forcing a national reckoning with police brutality and racism.
In the three years since his death, the city of Minneapolis has attempted to boost transparency and accountability within its government and police department with the creation of a police oversight committee, in addition to removing controversial restraint tactics from its use-of-force policy.
- CHARGES: Four days after Floyd's death on May 29, 2020, Chauvin was arrested and charged with third-degree murder and third-degree manslaughter.
Five days later, Attorney General Keith Ellison took over the case from Hennepin County and filed more serious charges of second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
Judge Peter Cahill also later reinstated the county's original third-degree murder charges.
- TRIAL: The jury heard two weeks of testimony from state and defense witnesses, including use-of-force experts, medical experts and eyewitnesses. After 10 hours of deliberations, the jurors reached their verdict on April 20, 2021.
- OUTCOME: Chauvin was found guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder; and second-degree manslaughter.
- SENTENCE: On June 25, 2021, Cahill sentenced Chauvin to 22 1/2 years in prison after agreeing with prosecutors that aggravating factors warranted more than the 12 1/2-year sentence prescribed under state guidelines.
- CHARGES: On May 7, 2021, Chauvin was indicted by a federal grand jury on
two counts of violating Floyd's civil rights by "Deprivation of Rights Under Color of Law."
- TRIAL: On Dec. 15, 2021, Chauvin entered a guilty plea, waiving his right to a trial.
- OUTCOME: Chauvin pleaded guilty to one count of violating Floyd's civil rights.
- SENTENCE: With Chauvin's guilty plea, a judge sentenced him to 21 years in federal prison. He is now serving his state and federal sentences concurrently at a federal prison in Arizona.
- CHARGES: On June 3, 2020, Attorney General Keith Ellison filed charges on one count of aiding and abetting second-degree murder, and one count of aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.
- TRIAL: On May 18, 2021, Lane entered a guilty plea, waiving his right to a trial.
- OUTCOME: Lane pleaded guilty to one count of aiding and abetting manslaughter in the second degree.
- SENTENCE: On September 21, 2022, Lane was sentenced to three years in prison.
- CHARGES: On May 7, 2021, a federal grand jury indicted Lane for violating Floyd's civil rights and depriving him of medical care.
Lane held Floyd's legs down while Chauvin pinned him under his knee.
- TRIAL: During the month-long trial, prosecutors claimed the officers violated their training, including when they failed to move Floyd or give him CPR. The defense argued the officers' training was inadequate.
The jury reached its verdict on February 24, 2022, after 13 hours of deliberations.
- OUTCOME: Lane was found guilty of both depriving Floyd of medical care and violating his civil rights.
- SENTENCE: Lane was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in federal prison, followed by two years of supervised release. He is serving his state and federal sentences congruently at a federal prison in Colorado.
J. Alexander Kueng
- CHARGES: Kueng was charged on June 3, 2020, with one count each of aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.
- TRIAL: Hours before jury selection for his state trial was scheduled to begin on October 24, 2022, Kueng pleaded guilty and waived his right to a trial.
- OUTCOME: Kueng pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting manslaughter.
- SENTENCE: On Dec. 9, 2022, Kueng was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison, with prosecutors agreeing to drop the charge of aiding and abetting second-degree murder.
- CHARGES: On May 7, 2021, a federal grand jury indicted Kueng for depriving Floyd of medical care, in addition to failing to intervene.
Kueng kneeled on Floyd's back while Chauvin pinned him by the neck under his knee.
- TRIAL: On Feb. 16, 2022, Kueng took the stand to testify in his own defense, saying he deferred to Chauvin as the senior officer at the scene.
Later, prosecutors argued some of his testimony “directly and obviously conflicted with other, irrefutable evidence presented at trial” in ways that amounted to perjury, particularly as it related to whether Kueng knew that Floyd “had a serious medical need.”
Once the jury received the case, it reached its verdict on Feb. 24, 2022, following 13 hours of deliberations.
- OUTCOME: Kueng was found guilty of depriving Floyd of his right to medical care and failure to intervene.
- SENTENCE: On July 27, 2022, Kueng was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison to be served concurrently with his state sentence. He is currently behind bars at a federal prison in Ohio.
- CHARGES: On June 3, 2020, Thao was charged with one count of aiding and abetting second-degree murder and one count of aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.
- TRIAL: Opting to forego a jury trial just hours before the selection was set to begin on Oct. 24, 2022, Thao agreed to a stipulated bench trial. The option gave Cahill sole authority to review the body of evidence, arguments and written closing statements from both sides before making a decision about his guilt or innocence.
The state agreed to dismiss the charge of aiding and abetting second-degree murder if Cahill found Thao guilty of aiding and abetting manslaughter.
On Jan. 31, 2023, closing arguments from both the state and defense teams were submitted to Cahill, giving him up to 90 days to reach a decision.
- OUTCOME: On May 1, 2023, Thao was found guilty of aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.
- SENTENCE: On Aug. 7, Thao was sentenced to 57 months in prison on his state conviction of aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.
- CHARGES: On May 7, 2021, a federal grand jury indicted Thao for depriving Floyd of medical care and failure to intervene.
Thao was tasked with keeping bystanders back and away from Floyd while Chauvin, Kueng and Lane pinned him to the ground.
- TRIAL: On Feb. 15, 2022, Thao took the stand in his own defense at trial, arguing he never touched Floyd and deferred to Chauvin as the senior officer at the scene.
On Feb. 24, 2022, the jury reached its verdict after 13 hours of deliberation.
- OUTCOME: Thao was convicted of depriving Floyd of his right to medical care and failure to intervene.
- SENTENCE: On July 27, 2022, Thao was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison, which he is currently serving while he waits for his sentencing in state court. He is currently incarcerated at a federal facility in Kentucky.
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