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George Floyd's Family Members Assail Officers' Short Prison Terms

The three police officers who worked alongside Derek Chauvin as he killed George Floyd went before a federal judge to be sentenced for violating Floyd’s civil rights, Associated Press reports. Tou Thao, who held back concerned bystanders as Chauvin kneeled on Floyd’s neck got 3 ½ years. Alexander Kueng, who held down Floyd’s back, got three years. Thomas Lane, who held down Floyd’s feet, got 2 ½ years. Some of Floyd’s family members were disappointed by the sentences, feeling that the former officers should have gotten more time. Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, died on May 25, 2020, after Chauvin kneeled on his neck for 9 ½ minutes after Floyd repeatedly said he couldn’t breathe. The killing, recorded by bystanders, caused a nationwide uproar over racial injustice and police brutality.

Chauvin pleaded guilty in federal court to violating Floyd’s right to be free from unreasonable seizure. He was sentenced to 21 years in prison for his treatment of Floyd, and for an unrelated case involving a 14-year-old boy. Thao, Kueng and Lane were all charged with denying Floyd medical treatment. Thao and Kueng were also charged with failure to intervene. Police being sentenced to prison is uncommon and may make officers more likely to intervene in future life-threatening situations. Floyd’s cousin Paris Stevens, co-chair of the George Floyd Global Memorial, said she did not think the officers got enough time. She believes that police officers should be punished more harshly due to the power they hold. She believes courts show favoritism toward officers and the three officers could have saved Floyd’s life but did not.


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