Last Officer in George Floyd Case Is Convicted

Tou Thao guilty of aiding and abetting manslaughter in state case
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 2, 2023 1:39 PM CDT
Last Officer in George Floyd Case Is Convicted
In this screen grab from video, former Minneapolis police officer Tou Thao appears at the scene where George Floyd died at the hands of former police officer Derek Chauvin, on May 25, 2020, in Minneapolis, Minn.   (Court TV, via AP, Pool)

A former Minneapolis police officer who held back bystanders while his colleagues restrained a dying George Floyd has been convicted of aiding and abetting manslaughter, per the AP. Tou Thao, who already had been convicted in federal court of violating Floyd’s civil rights, was the last of four former officers facing judgment in state court in Floyd’s killing. He rejected a plea agreement and, instead of going to trial, let Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill decide the verdict based on written filings by each side and evidence presented in previous cases. The judge set sentencing for Aug. 7. Minnesota guidelines recommend four years on the manslaughter count, which Thao would serve concurrently with his 3 1/2-year federal sentence.

"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," Cahill wrote in a 177-page ruling. Floyd, a Black man, died May 25, 2020, after officer Derek Chauvin, who is white, pinned him to the ground with his knee on Floyd’s neck for 9 1/2 minutes as he pleaded for air. Chauvin was convicted of murder and manslaughter in April 2021 and later pleaded guilty in the federal case. Two other officers—J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane—pleaded guilty to state charges of aiding and abetting manslaughter and were convicted with Thao in their federal case.

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, who led the prosecution team, said Thao's conviction "brings one more measure of accountability in the tragic death of George Floyd." Unlike the other three former officers, Thao maintained he did nothing wrong. When he rejected a plea deal in state court last August, he said "it would be lying" to plead guilty. Thao testified during his federal trial that he was relying on the other officers to care for Floyd’s medical needs while he served as "a human traffic cone" to control traffic and a group of bystanders.

(More Tou Thao stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.