Ex-Minneapolis cops reject plea deal in George Floyd's killing, will go to trial

Former Minneapolis police officers Tou Thao and J. Alexander Kueng have rejected last and final plea offers, and will go to trial this fall

Thao and Kueng, who are charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting manslaughter in Floyd's May 2020 death, were in court on Monday. During the testy 15-minute hearing, they rejected a plea offer of 36 months in prison to be served at the same time as their federal sentence. 

They'll go to trial for the state charges on Oct. 24. If they're convicted on the top count, they're looking at 12-plus years in prison. 

Also during the hearing, Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill rejected the plea hearing to be done in the judge's chambers and not in open court, with defense attorneys arguing news might further poison a potential jury pool. Cahill also rejected a defense motion for a gag order in this case, meaning both sides can talk to the media. 

Thao, Kueng and their colleague Thomas Lane were previously convicted and sentenced for violating Floyd's rights in federal court. Thao and Kueng were sentenced to 3.5 years and 3 years, respectively, in federal prison and have filed notice they plan to appeal the case. Lane was sentenced to 30 months (2.5 years) in the federal case. 

Lane pleaded guilty in state court to aiding and abetting manslaughter in Floyd's murder in early May. Lane's sentencing in state court has been scheduled for Sept. 21. 

Derek Chauvin, their former colleague, was convicted of murder last year in Floyd's May 25, 2020, death and pleaded guilty to a federal civil rights violation. Chauvin was sentenced to 22 1/2 years in prison in the state case and 20 ½ years in the federal case