The claim that Tou Thao, 34, is the brother-in-law of Derek Michael Chauvin, 44, is false. This is according to Amanda Mason-Sekula of Sekula Family Law Offices of Minneapolis, the divorce lawyer of Kellie May Xiong Chauvin, 46.
“Tou Thao is NOT Ms. Chauvin’s brother,” Mason-Sekula said in an email obtained by the Houston Chronicle. “I would GREATLY appreciate help putting that rumor to rest. Her family has been harassed and threatened based on multiple incorrect reports.”
Kellie does have a brother who works as a police officer in St. Paul, Minnesota. Thao and Derek used to work for the Minneapolis Police Department.
Originally from Laos, Chauvin was crowned United States of America’s Mrs. Minnesota in 2018, the first woman of Hmong descent to hold the title. She has been married to Derek since 2010 but she recently filed for divorce.
Derek worked for the Minneapolis Police Department from January 8, 2001 to May 26, 2020. He and Thao were involved in the fatal arrest of the late African-American security guard George Floyd.
On May 25, 2020, an employee at Cup Foods at 3759 Chicago Avenue in Minneapolis called the Minneapolis Police Department to report a customer who was trying to pay with a counterfeit $20 bill. Floyd apparently matched the suspect’s descriptions so he was arrested by Derek, Thao and their former colleagues Thomas Lane, 37, and J. Alexander Kueng, 26.
It was a deadly encounter witnessed by several bystanders and streamed on Facebook Live. For a total of 8 minutes and 46 seconds, Chauvin knelt on the neck of Floyd, who repeatedly tried to tell the cops that he could not breathe.
About an hour and a half later, Floyd was pronounced dead at the Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis, the same hospital where Derek and Kellie met for the first time. On May 26, 2020, the Minneapolis Police Department fired Derek, Thao, Lane and Kueng.
On May 29, 2020, the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office criminal complaint against Derek was released and he was arrested with a bail set for $500,000. His wife released a statement through her divorce lawyer.
Floyd’s death caused riots not only in Minnesota but also in California, New York, Seattle and Philadelphia. Meanwhile, Thao, Lane and Kueng have yet to be arrested.