MINNEAPOLIS — Ex-Minneapolis police officers J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao formally rejected a plea offer in court Monday morning that would have allowed them to avoid a state trial and additional prison time from the federal civil rights sentence they received in George Floyd’s killing.
At a brief hearing, Assistant Attorney General Matthew Frank offered to drop felony charges against Kueng and Thao for aiding and abetting the second-degree murder of George Floyd if they pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of aiding and abetting manslaughter. Frank said prosecutors would have recommended a three-year prison sentence that would be served concurrently with the sentences handed down by a federal judge last month for convictions of violating Floyd’s civil rights. Kueng received three years in prison and Thao was sentenced to 3 1/2 years.
Both men declined the offer in front of Judge Peter Cahill.
“It would be a lie and a sin for me to accept a plea deal,” Thao said.
Frank said the offer expired today, meaning Kueng and Thao are now heading toward an Oct. 24 trial in Hennepin County.
A third defendant, ex-officer Thomas Lane, agreed to plead guilty for an identical deal this summer. Derek Chauvin, who knelt on Floyd’s neck for more than 9 minutes during the encounter, is serving concurrent state and federal sentences of more than 20 years for Floyd’s killing.