Last 2 ex-cops sentenced in George Floyd's death get prison.....Remembering Cleveland's George Floyd riot....By editor Kathy Wray Coleman of Clevelandurbannews.com and Kathywraycolemanonlinenewsblog.com, Ohio's Black digital news leader

Ex Minneapolis police officers Tho Thao and J. Alexander Kueng

Ex Minneapolis police officer Thomas Lane

Ex Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin

The late George Floyd


By Kathy Wray Coleman, associate publisher, editor-in-chief

ST. Paul, Minnesota- The final two of four former Minneapolis police officers convicted earlier this year on federal criminal charges regarding the 2020 fatal arrest of unarmed Black man George Floyd are headed to prison.

J. Alexander Kueng, 28, the lone Black among the four ex police officers accused of violating Floyd's civil rights, and Tou Thao, 36, both convicted in February, were sentenced to three years and three and a half years in prison, respectively, on Wednesday by federal court Judge Paul A. Magnuson. This means that all four of the officers who helped restrain Floyd the day of his untimely death on May 25, 2020 have been sentenced to prison time.

Kueng held down Floyd's torso while ex-officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on his neck until he died, and Thao kept bystanders at bay. Neither Kueng nor Thao spoke at sentencing, though their attorneys sent a letter to the court before sentencing saying their clients have been "born again" since the George Floyd incident 

      Thomas Lane, 39, who held down Floyd's legs, was convicted by the same jury of one federal charge and was sentenced last week to two and a half years in prison by Judge Magnuson, and Chauvin, Floyd's direct killer, pleaded guilty to violating Floyd's civil rights and was sentenced earler this month to 21 years in prison to be served concurrently with his 22.5-year sentence on murder charges brought by the state of Minnesota.
      The major culprit relative to George Floyd's murder, Chauvin kneeled on Floyd's neck for more than nine minutes when he was killing him as Floyd begged for mercy and called out for his deceased "mamma."

      Floyd, 46, left behind two children. His unprecedented death at the hands of police capitivated America and drew nationwide protests and racial unrest. 

      Floyd's family members did not attend Wednesday's sentencing  of Kueng and Thao, a scenario that differed in comparison to Chauvin's sentencing in July of 2021 by federal district court Judge Peter Cahill on convictions relative to second and third degree murder charges brought on behalf of the state of Minnesota.

      They also gathered when Chauvin was convicted in April of 2021 of killing Floyd, his family members and Civil Rights and Black Lives Matter activists, including the Rev. Al Sharpton, gathering for a rally in front of the courthouse in downtown Minneapolis after the Chauvin verdict was read, some carrying signs with pictures of Floyd, Philando Castile, Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice and other Black men and women killed in encounters with police

      Also on that day, Floyd's younger brother Philonise Floyd, and other family members, including Floyd's daughter, flanked by the Rev Al Sharpton, the Rev Jesse Jackson, and Floyd family attorneys dedicated the jury verdict in his brother's murder case to the legacy of Emmett Till, whom White supremacists hanged and murdered in 1955, and with impunity.

      U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement after Chauvin's convictions last April that the justice department’s federal civil rights investigation into the death of George Floyd “is ongoing." And Minnesota Gov Tim Waltz said that "it's an important step towards justice for Minnesota, trial’s over, but here in Minnesota, I want to be very clear, we know our work just begins."

      Both President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, the nation's first Black vice president and a former prosecutor and state attorney general, spoke out after the verdict last year in the celebrated murder case, Harris calling it justice delivered and Biden saying that "no one should be above the law and today's verdict sends that message."

      Vice President Harris said that the pain in the Black community relative to the police murder of George Floyd and so many other Blacks like him still lingers.

      "Today we feel a sigh of relief," said Vice President Harris during a press conference after the guilty verdict last year in the state's case. "Still it cannot take away the pain."

      The vice president said that "a measure of justice isn't the same as equal justice."

      Even the national president of Chauvin's police union celebrated Chauvins convictions in April in what he called the case of a cop gone bad, a case where even the disgraced former police officer's peers and supervisors became key witnesses for the prosecution at trial, a trial that legal experts said was won from the beginning with a video of the entire incident taken by a by-standard.

      "We were one of the first organization's to step forward and say this just doesn't look right." said Patrick Yoes, national president of the Fraternal Order of Police.

      The city has settled a wrongful death lawsuit with Floyd's family for $27 million, the largest of its kind in U.S. history.

      Arrested on a forgery charge over a $20 bill, Floyd pleaded for his life and cried out that he could not breathe when Chauvin murdered him by hoding his knee on his neck before an astonished crowd of people, some in the crowd hollering for him to ease up on his excessive force against Floyd, but to no avail.

      Floyd was pronounced dead an hour later at an area hospital

      Protests in Minneapolis ensued and spread to over 2,000 cities and towns in all 50 states, and riots subsequently broke out in Minneapolis and in cities nationwide, including in Cleveland, Ohio.

      Thousands gather at the Free Stamp next to Cleveland City Hall in downtown Cleveland on Sat., May 30, 2020 for a rally for  justice for Minneapolis police murder victim George Floyd, a rally that turned violent and erupted into a riot. Photo by Tristan Rader

      Black Lives Matter activists led Cleveland's protest on May 30, 2020 where anxious and angry protesters rioted and tore up  downtown Cleveland, destroying businesses and writing graphite on landmark buildings. Protesters, mainly young people, also set Cleveland police cruisers on fire. 

       Clevelandurbannews.com and Kathywraycolemanonlinenewsblog.com the most read Black digital newspaper and blog in Ohio and in the Midwest Tel: (216) 659-0473. Email: editor@clevelandurbannews.com. We interviewed former president Barack Obama one-on-one when he was campaigning for president. As to the Obama interview, CLICK HERE TO READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE AT CLEVELAND URBAN NEWS.COM, OHIO'S LEADER IN BLACK DIGITAL NEWS.


        

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