Former Minneapolis police officer J. Alexander Kueng was confronted at a grocery store on Saturday after posting bail. Officials charged Kueng with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter in the death of George Floyd on May 25. A viral video shows him walking free in a grocery store over the weekend after paying $750,000 to go free.
Kueng helped restrain Floyd on May 25 while former officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck, as seen in the now-infamous viral video of the incident. The 26-year-old Kueng is one of two officers involved who have now posted bail and been released from Hennepin County Jail — the other being 37-year-old Thomas Lane. According to The Star Tribune, Kueng was released on Friday evening and is due back in court on June 29.
The video shows a woman recognizing Kueng in real time, then expressing her horror at seeing him walking free after Floyd's death. "It is you!" she says. "So, you're out of prison, and you're comfortable shopping in Cub Foods as if you didn't do anything?" Kueng responds: "I wouldn't call it comfortably."
The woman continued to record Kueng for several minutes, condemning him as a racist and a killer. The former police officer appeared to maintain a relatively calm demeanor throughout the encounter but made no attempts to explain or justify his actions. The woman who recorded the videos and the person who posted them online later warned customers to stay way from Cub Foods, writing: "It is not safe!!!! A race soldier buying his Oreos and 2 [perecent] Milk!!!"
Critics online noted that neither Kueng nor the person with him was wearing a mask, and if they had, they might have been able to go unrecognized. "Perhaps he likes the attention," one person mused, while another noted that Kueng could have kept walking if he really wanted to avoid the woman.
Others felt sympathy for Kueng, saying that he had a "right" to live his life in peace until the court decided his fate. Many critics disagreed with this sentiment, mainly because Kueng apparently managed to pay nearly a million dollars in bail money.0comments
It is unclear how Kueng was able to afford his freedom, but Lane managed to do so with the help of crowdfunding. The former officer's family created a website pleading with the public to help him cover his bail and legal fees, making the case that he was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. They used a direct PayPal link rather than a GoFundMe or similar campaign, however.
While Lane and Kueng await their court dates, Chauvin and Tou Thao remain in custody. Meanwhile, the Minneapolis Police Department is undergoing extreme changes in the wake of Floyd's killing.