The black officer charged with the death of George Floyd had joined the force to protect other black youths from police abuse, arguing that more police officers like him could change the Minneapolis force.
J. Alexander Kueng is now being denounced by members of his own family.
Kueng’s mission to change the department’s reputation was based on seeing friends, including a sister, Taylor Kueng, mistreated by law enforcement officers, the New York Times reported.
Still, Kueng defended authorities, including sheriff’s deputies who arrested his brother, and told his friends and family that the best way to fix the apartment was from the inside, not through public demonstrations.
“Don’t you think that should be done from the inside? Joni Kueng, who is white, recalled what her son said years ago after seeing protesters block a road. “That is part of the reason I wanted to become a police officer, and a black police officer on top of that, is to close that gap in the community, to change the narrative between the officers and the black community.”
In addition to Kueng, three other officers have been fired and charged with Floyd’s death. At 26, he is the youngest and has the least experience, only three days on the job.
Taylor, along with her sister Radiance, asked that officers, including her brother, be arrested. Radiance has promised to change her last name.
“I don’t care if it was his third day on the job or not,” he said. “He knows the right thing from the wrong thing.”
Joni Kueng tried to convince her son not to join the police. But he couldn’t be persuaded, friend Darrow Jones told the Times.
Kueng believed that his experience would allow him to close the gap between the black and white worlds, so he signed up as a police cadet.
Within months of his training, Taylor had a confrontation with the sheriff’s deputies. She and a friend saw officers question two men about drinking in public. They intervened. Taylor Kueng recorded the agents on her cell phone.
Kueng reminded his sister that he would not join the sheriff’s department and criticized the officers’ behavior, his mother recalled.
On May 22, Kueng officially became one of approximately 80 black officers in a nearly 900 police force. Floyd died on May 25.
The next day, Jones found out that Kueng was one of the officers, and called him. They both cried.
“I am very sad and very disappointed,” Jones said. “But even though I feel sad about what happened, he still has my unwavering support. Because we grew up together and I love him. “