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On Monday, two former Minneapolis police officers rejected plea deals on state charges related to May 2020 murder of george floyd and are now due to stand trial from October.
During a 15-minute hearing Monday morning, former officers Tou Thao and J. Alexander Kueng rejected the state’s final offers to avoid footsteps, FOX 9 Minneapolis reported.
In the final plea offer, prosecutors offered a 36-month sentence for aiding and abetting second degree murder and aiding and abetting manslaughter charges to be served concurrently with the federal sentence.
But both defendants rejected the deal and their state trial is set to begin with jury selection on Oct. 24, with opening statements scheduled for Nov. 7.
Thao, Kueng and a third Minneapolis elder police officer, Thomas Lane, was working with Derek Chauvin when he pinned Floyd’s neck with his knee for over nine minutes as the 46-year-old black man captured on viral bystander video said he couldn’t breathe and finally came to a standstill.
“It would be a lie for me to accept a plea offer,” Thou said Monday.
Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill had set a limited window to accept a plea deal before trial, and Monday’s brief hearing served to formalize the former officers’ rejection of state offers. Minnesota Assistant Attorney General Matt Frank said plea bargains began in earnest in May and continued into June. The offers would have dropped the charge of aiding and abetting the murder.
In April 2021, Chauvin, who is white, was convicted of second degree murder and sentenced to 22½ years on the state charge. Chauvin was later sentenced to 21 years on the federal civil rights charge.
Thao, Kueng and Lane were found guilty in federal court in February of violating Floyd’s civil rights.
Thao, who restrained worried bystanders while Chauvin held a hand to Floyd’s neck and upper back, was sentenced to 3½ years. Kueng, who pinned Floyd’s back, was sentenced to 3 years. Lane, who held Floyd’s legs and twice asked him if he should be turned on his side, was sentenced to 2½ years.
Lane avoided a state trial by pleading guilty in May to aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter in a deal that requires a three-year sentence. His sentencing is September 21.
Chauvin remains in the state’s maximum security prison in Oak Park Heights pending transfer to federal prison. The other three remain free on bail.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.