Former Minneapolis police officer J. Alexander Kueng pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter for the death of George Floyd Monday. File Photo courtesy of the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office
Oct. 24 (UPI) -- A former Minneapolis police officer pleaded guilty Monday to aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter for the death of George Floyd.
The officer, J. Alexander Kueng, had previously rejected a plea deal but pleaded guilty Monday as jury selection was set to begin in a joint trial with fellow former officer Tou Thao.
By pleading guilty to the state charge, Kueng avoided a charge of aiding and abetting second-degree unintentional murder levied against him, KSTP and the Washington Post reported. His sentencing has not yet been scheduled.
Kueng, 28, and Thao, 35, were both sentenced in July to three-and-a-half years in prison for federal charges of violating Floyd's civil rights.
Thao on Monday chose to have a trial stipulated by evidence before Judge Peter Cahill, who will decide his guilt, which will focus on the aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter charge he faces.
Kueng, who was in his first week as an officer with the Minneapolis Police Department, helped Derek Chauvin hold Floyd, an unarmed Black man, down as he struggled to breathe. Floyd's death in May 2020 sparked nationwide protests.
More than 23 million people watched the televised trial, which Cahill presided over, as Chauvin was found guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
He was sentenced to 22.5 years in prison on state murder charges in 2021 and pleaded guilty in July to federal charges.
A fourth officer, 39-year-old Thomas Lane, was also found guilty of violating Floyd's civil rights and was sentenced to 30 months in prison on the federal charges.