J Alexander Kueng, a rookie officer charged with violating Floyd’s civil rights, testified that he deferred to “senior officer” Derek Chauvin.
J Alexander Kueng, one of the three officers charged with violating the civil rights of George Floyd, took the stand in his defense Wednesday and repeatedly explained his decisions during the fatal arrest as deference to the “senior officer,” Derek Chauvin.
Kueng, on trial in US District Court in Minnesota, faces the additional federal charges related to failing to stop Chauvin’s unreasonable force that caused death, and willfully failing to give aid to Floyd. Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who knelt on Floyd for more than nine minutes, pleaded guilty to federal civil rights violations last year.
J. Alexander Kueng (above) testified that he had never been trained on how to stop another officer from using excessive force. (Photo: Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office)
From the stand, Kueng testified that he had never been trained on how to stop another officer from using excessive force, according to The Washington Post.
Kueng said Chauvin made the younger officers feel as if “we were making a mistake or that he saw we were doing something incorrect.”
He testified that he followed Chauvin’s lead because “it’s always the senior officer” who is in charge. Kueng was only on his third shift as a full-time officer at the time of the incident, which occurred on May 25, 2020.
He said that he and his partner, Thomas Lane, were struggling to detain Floyd who had been accused of passing a forged $20 bill at Cup Foods, a Minneapolis grocery store.
Tou Thao and his partner, Chauvin, proceeded to the scene despite being called off by a dispatcher, according to the previous reporting.
“In all my experience in policing … in the field, it’s always the senior officer. I’ve seen multiple officers defer to seniors on scenes, and the senior officer is the one that we go to as they have the most experience and are typically better equipped to handle situations.” Kueng described Chauvin as a “supervisor.”
“He was very quiet. But he had a high level; that experience was very vital. He was very knowledgeable of policy and law,” Kueng said of Chauvin. “He had a lot of respect from other officers … They would defer to him on what to do.”
Federal prosecutors are trying Kueng, Thao and Lane together. Like Kueng, Thao faces charges related to failing to stop Chauvin’s unreasonable force and willfully failing to give aid to Floyd. Lane faces one allegation, that he failed to provide medical aid to Floyd, and is expected to testify on his own behalf tomorrow.
As previously reported, Thao testified that it was not his “role” to check on Floyd’s health condition. Further, he said that Floyd had ”super-human strength that more than three officers could handle,” adding that he had ”never seen this much of a struggle,” in his eight-year police career.
Thao also said that the grocery store was a “well-known Bloods hangout” that was ”hostile to police.”
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