Tou Thao: Ex-officer in George Floyd case gets 57 months for role in killing

Tou Thao
Ex-officer Tou Thao has also been found guilty by a federal court of violating George Floyd's civil rights (Image: Reuters)

A former Minneapolis police officer has been sentenced to 57 months (almost five years) in prison for his role in the death of George Floyd.

The officer, Tou Thao, was found guilty of aiding and abetting manslaughter by a Minnesota judge in May.

Mr Thao testified that he acted as a “human traffic cone”, holding back bystanders while Derek Chauvin knelt on Mr Floyd’s neck for nearly 10 minutes.

Mr Floyd’s death on 25 May 2020 sparked mass protests across the US.

All four former police officers involved in the incident were convicted on federal civil rights charges, in addition to state murder charges for Mr Chauvin. Ex-officers Thomas Lane and J Alexander Kueng pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.

Thao, who was sentenced to three and a half years over his civil rights conviction, will serve the 57 months at the same time.

The former officer had waived his right to a jury trial in the manslaughter case, opting instead for Judge Peter Cahill to determine the verdict. He also waived the right to testify and question witnesses.

In a 177-page ruling in May, Judge Cahill said that Mr Thao’s actions – which included shielding Chauvin and the two other officers from the crowd – prevented a trained emergency medic from being able to help Mr Floyd.

“There is proof beyond a reasonable doubt that Thao’s actions were objectively unreasonable from the perspective of a reasonable police officer, when viewed under the totality of the circumstances,” the judge wrote.

Judge Cahill added that Thao’s actions “were even more unreasonable in light of the fact that he was under a duty to intervene to stop other officers’ excessive use of force and was trained to render medical aid”.


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