crime and punishment

Minneapolis’s Tou Thao charged in George Floyd’s death, still at large

Tou Thao

Tou Thao

Asian-American former cop Tou Nmn Thao, 34, of Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States has been charged in the death of African-American man George Floyd. Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison announced this on June 3, 2020.

“I strongly believe that these developments are in the interest of justice for Mr. Floyd, his family, our community and our state,” CBS News quoted Ellison as saying. His announcement was echoed by Minnesota senator Amy Klobuchar via Twitter.

 

Hired by the Minneapolis Police Department on February 4, 2008, Thou started as a community service officer. He was laid off from 2010 to 2011 and was hired back in 2012.

On May 25, 2020, Thao and his fellow former Minneapolis Police Department officers Derek Michael Chauvin, 44, Thomas Kiernan Lane, 37, J Alexander Kueng, 26, arrested Floyd, who was accused of buying cigarettes with fake $20 bill at Cup Foods at 3759 Chicago Avenue in Minneapolis. The fatal encounter was documented by bystanders.

Thao watched and interacted with the bystanders as Chauvin, who was assisted by Kueng and Lane, Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. More than an hour later, Floyd was declared dead in the emergency room of Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis.

Floyd’s death reawakened the Black Lives Matter movement and ignited anti-police brutality protests across the U.S. The Minneapolis Police Department fired Chauvin, Lane, Kueng and Thao on May 26, 2020 and Chauvin was arrested on May 29, 2020.

Originally charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter, Chauvin is now facing a new charge of second-degree murder. Lane, Thao and Kueng have been charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder while committing a felony and with aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter with culpable negligence.

Thao and Lane have yet to be arrested. Kueng turned himself in at around 1:35 p.m. on June 3, 2020.

“Trying this case will be hard,” Ellison said. “History does show there are clear challenges here but we will seek justice and we will find it. What I do not believe is one successful prosecution can rectify the hurt and loss that so many people feel.”

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