Federal prosecutors are seeking up to 6½ years in prison for Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng, the former Minneapolis police officers convicted this year of civil rights violations in the 2020 murder of George Floyd.
In a position on sentencing memo filed in U.S. District Court on Wednesday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Manda Sertich and Special Litigation Counsel Samantha Trepel called for far less than the 25 years that the government is asking Derek Chauvin to serve.
The prosecutors cited Kueng and Lane's "abuse of state powers" that caused Floyd's death, lack of accepting responsibility and "the need to promote respect for the law and deter other police officers from standing by as their fellow officers inflict abuses on unresisting arrestees." They also argued for the need to sentence consistently with other cases in which officers have been convicted of failing to intervene to protect arrestees or inmates from abuse.
Kueng, Lane and former officer Tou Thao were found guilty by a jury in February of violating Floyd's civil rights while acting in their capacity as law enforcement officers. Both Kueng and Lane were convicted of charges tied to their failure to give Floyd medical care. Kueng was also convicted on charges related to not trying to stop Chauvin from using excessive force.
Chauvin pleaded guilty in the federal civil rights case in December and is awaiting sentencing. Senior U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson has yet to set a sentencing date for any of the four officers.
Chauvin is serving a 22 ½ year state prison sentence for his murder conviction last year. Lane has since pleaded guilty in that case, and Kueng and Thao still await a state trial that is scheduled to start Oct 24.
Federal prosecutors continue to argue that Magnuson should treat this criminal case involving law enforcement officers more seriously, not less, than other criminal cases.
In Kueng's case, Sertich and Trepel wrote that his "position as an officer not only aggravated the crime but made it possible."
"If he and his fellow defendants had been private citizens, they would have lacked the authority to hold back civilian bystanders desperate to step in to provide the assistance Mr. Floyd so direly needed," they wrote.