Home Politics Tou Thao Gets More Than 4 Years in Final Sentencing for Police Killing of George Floyd

Tou Thao Gets More Than 4 Years in Final Sentencing for Police Killing of George Floyd

Tou Thao Gets More Than 4 Years in Final Sentencing for Police Killing of George Floyd


On May 25, 2020, Minneapolis police officers arrested Mr. Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, after a store employee told the police that he had bought cigarettes with a counterfeit $20 bill. Mr. Floyd was handcuffed and pinned to the ground under the knee of Officer Derek Chauvin for more than nine minutes. While two other officers held Mr. Floyd down, Mr. Thao held back bystanders who were anxious about Mr. Floyd’s condition.

The county medical examiner ruled the death a homicide, saying in his testimony that the compression of Mr. Floyd’s neck and the restraint of his body by officers were the main cause of his death.

The killing of Mr. Floyd was captured on video by bystanders and quickly went viral. The video incited protests across the United States against policy brutality and systemic racism that evolved into a global movement for racial justice.

The day after Mr. Floyd’s death, the Minneapolis Police Department fired all four of the officers involved. They were all later charged and convicted of a variety of crimes. Each was sentenced to several years in prison, with Mr. Chauvin carrying the heaviest sentence — more than 20 years in both federal and state prison.

The City of Minneapolis agreed to pay $27 million to Mr. Floyd’s family, after the family sued the city, saying that the police had violated his rights.

In 2021 a state jury found Mr. Chauvin, who is white, guilty of second- and third-degree murder, as well as second-degree manslaughter for the killing of Mr. Floyd. He was sentenced to 22 and a half years in state prison. A year later, Mr. Chauvin was sentenced to 21 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to violating the constitutional rights of Mr. Floyd and a 14-year-old boy, who is also Black and was injured in an similar but unrelated encounter.

Mr. Chauvin’s federal and state sentences are being served concurrently, and he is incarcerated at the medium-security Federal Correctional Institution in Tucson, Ariz.

Mr. Chauvin appealed the murder conviction, arguing that he had been deprived of a fair trial for several reasons, including the district judge’s decision not to move the trial out of Minneapolis. Several months ago, a Minnesota appeals court upheld Mr. Chauvin’s conviction.

In May, he asked the Minnesota Supreme Court to review his murder conviction, but the court declined to hear the case. Now, according to The Associated Press, Mr. Chauvin is planning on asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review his conviction.

Thomas Lane, the officer who held down Mr. Floyd’s legs, pleaded guilty to a state charge of aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter in May 2022. Mr. Lane, who is white, was also convicted in federal court of violating Mr. Floyd’s rights. He is concurrently serving two sentences, for two and a half years and three years, at a federal prison in Colorado.

J. Alexander Kueng, the officer who helped to pin down Mr. Floyd including by kneeling on Mr. Floyd’s torso, was convicted in federal court in February 2022 of violating Mr. Floyd’s constitutional rights. Mr. Kueng, who is Black, pleaded guilty to state charges of manslaughter in October. He is concurrently serving a three-year sentence and a three-and-a-half-year sentence.

The fourth officer, Mr. Thao, who is Asian American, is serving a three-and-a-half-year federal sentence after being convicted of depriving Mr. Floyd of his right to medical care and for failing to intervene.

In May, after Mr. Thao waived his right to a jury trial, a judge in Minneapolis ruled that he was guilty of aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter. Mr. Thao was sentenced to a four years and nine months in state prison on Monday. He will serve the state sentence concurrently with his federal sentence.

Mr. Thao appealed his federal convictions, but last week an appellate court denied his appeal and upheld the conviction.

After Mr. Floyd’s death, Minnesota’s Department of Human Rights conducted an investigation and found that the Minneapolis Police Department had routinely engaged in racially discriminatory policing and had failed to punish officers for misconduct. City officials agreed to make sweeping changes in policing.

This year, the Justice Department released a scathing report from a multiyear investigation into the department, finding that it frequently discriminated against Black and Native American people and that it used deadly force without justification, among other things.

In response, Minneapolis officials said they would work with the federal government to negotiate a consent decree that would overhaul the police force.


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