Ex-officer deferred to Chauvin during George Floyd murder
One of three former police officers facing federal charges of violating George Floyd's civil rights in the May 2020 murder reveals details about his senior officer Derek Chauvin.
A former Minneapolis police officer has testified that he was a rookie still on probation on the day George Floyd was killed and deferred to his senior officer Derek Chauvin, who was convicted of the murder of the 46-year-old African-American man.
J. Alexander Kueng, 28, is one of three former police officers facing federal charges of violating Floyd's civil rights in the May 2020 murder.
Chauvin, the white former Minneapolis officer who kneeled on the neck of a handcuffed Floyd for nearly 10 minutes until he passed out and died, is serving 22 years in prison for the murder.
What happened back then?
Floyd's death was filmed by a bystander and sparked months of protests in the United States against racial injustice and police brutality.
Kueng, Tou Thao, and Thomas Lane were the three other officers on the scene as Floyd was being taken into custody for allegedly using a fake $20 bill to buy a pack of cigarettes.
While Chauvin knelt on Floyd's neck, Kueng was on his back and Lane held his legs.
Thao kept bystanders, who were telling Chauvin to get off the visibly distressed Floyd, from getting any closer to the scene.
Kueng, who is Black, took the witness stand on Wednesday and Thursday and defended his actions.
He said Chauvin, an 18-year veteran of the force who had been one of his training officers, was "my senior officer, and I trusted his advice."
Senior officer in control
"It's always the senior officer who is the person who is in control," said Kueng, who was working just his third shift on the street as a police officer.
"He had a lot of respect from other officers," Kueng said of Chauvin. "They would defer to him on what to do."
Kueng explained that he was partnered with Lane, who was also an inexperienced officer, that day.
He noted that Chauvin intervened after he and Lane had failed to get a struggling Floyd under control.
"Deliberate indifference" to Floyd's medical needs
Thao, Kueng, and Lane are charged with showing "deliberate indifference" to Floyd's medical needs.
Thao and Kueng are also accused of failing to intervene to stop Chauvin's use of "unreasonable force" against Floyd.
Thao, Kueng, and Lane are to face Minnesota State charges in connection with Floyd's death in a trial that is scheduled to begin on June 13.