Two of the former police officers charged in the killing of Black man George Floyd say they have turned down plea deals.
Former Minneapolis police officers Tou Thao and J Alexander Kueng were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. The couple, as well as Thomas Lane, were working with Derek Chauvin when he knelt on Floyd’s neck for nine minutes.
Thao and Kueng formally rejected the agreements at a hearing in the Hennepin County courthouse on Monday.
“It would be a lie for me to accept any plea offer,” Thao told Judge Peter Cahill.
Cahill is the same judge who sentenced Chauvin to 22.5 years in prison after he was convicted of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Chauvin is being held at the maximum security state prison in Oak Park Heights.
Thao and Kueng’s plea deals would have resulted in three-year prison sentences. The two former police officers will now go on trial in October.
Earlier this year, Lane pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting manslaughter. He agreed to a three-year sentence, with two years in prison. He is scheduled to be formally sentenced on September 21.
Lane’s charges of aiding and abetting second-degree murder were dropped as part of the plea deal.
Deputy Attorney General Matt Frank said Thao and Kueng’s plea agreement would have resulted in the state dropping charges of being an accessory to the murder, similar to what Lane agreed to.
Thao, Kueng and Lane were found guilty on federal charges of violating Floyd’s civil rights in February. The former police officers were sentenced in July. Lane received 2.5 years, Thao received 3.5 years, and Kueng received 3 years.
As part of his plea deal, Lane was allowed to serve his federal jail time concurrently with his state sentence. Frank said they offered Thao and Keung the same deal.
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