J. Alexander Kueng, a former Minneapolis police officer who faces criminal charges in the death of George Floyd, was confronted and questioned by a shopper in a Minneapolis grocery store over the weekend. The woman approached Kueng as he also was shopping not long after his release from jail. The female shopper filmed the encounter, which took place at a Cub Foods in Plymouth, Minnesota.
The woman, who says she recognized Kueng from his widely publicized mugshot, confirmed Kueng’s identity by asking for his name. Without giving his name, Kueng responded, “Oh, yeah, that’s me.”
“So you’re out of prison, and you’re comfortably shopping in Cub Foods?” the woman questioned.
In response, Kueng, who can be seen holding items to include milk, cookies and whipped cream, said he was “getting necessities.”
As the woman expressed her disapproval over his release, Kueng stated, “I’m sorry you feel that way” before attempting to walk away. The video that’s a little more than two minutes long shows a June 21 posting date by Twitter user @jk3rd_; it has been viewed more than 3 million times.
Kueng, 26, who worked alongside Derek Chauvin, the officer who pinned Floyd’s body to the ground, was charged with aiding and abetting murder and aiding and abetting manslaughter. The Hennepin County Medical Examiner has stated that Floyd died of asphyxiation after Chauvin applied “sustained pressure” to his neck for nearly nine minutes. Kueng, who was present at the scene, did not act to prevent his partner from compressing Floyd’s neck.
He was also fired from the police department after Floyd’s death, and was released Friday, June 19 from Hennepin County jail on $750,000 bail. The incident at the grocery store took place shortly after his release.
While Derek Chauvin and Tou Thao are still locked up, Thomas Lane, a fourth officer charged in George Floyd’s death, also — as of June 10 — has been released after making bail.
On Twitter, @jk3rd_ called Kueng the officer who “lynched George Floyd in cold blood.” The thread also includes the contact information of political leaders such as Minnesota Gov. Tim Waltz and Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey. Earlier this month, Frey was booed out of a rally for refusing to defund the police.
The viral video of the confrontation gained the attention of rapper Chuck D, who tweeted under the post, and attributed Kueng’s failure to intervene to “the gang oath and code of policing” that encourages officers not to hold each other accountable for their actions on the job.
Some social media users who viewed the video of Kueng sided with the woman who recorded it, and seemed to disapprove of Kueng’s shopping trip. @dumielauxpices commented, “He literally don’t give a sh-t he killed someone…he’s not even worried about walking around.” However, others called the woman’s decision to approach and record Kueng in public “harassment.” @SPQRIUS suggested people “don’t understand the Rule of Law of Due Process.” Others agreed, saying Kueng has the right to roam free until he is convicted of a crime.
The FBI currently is investigating George Floyd’s death and has not yet released the officers’ bodycam footage of the incident.