(TheRedAlertNews.com) – One of the four police officers involved in the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May 2020 has been found guilty of “aiding and abetting manslaughter.”
During the death of George Floyd, former Minneapolis police officer Tou Thao held back bystanders while his three other colleagues were restraining Floyd.
Thao has already been convicted of violating Floyd’s civil rights in a federal court. He is also the last of the four former police officers facing state court judgment in Floyd’s killing.
The former officer let Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill issue a verdict without going to trial based on written filings by both sides and evidence from previous cases. Thao also rejected a plea agreement.
“Thao’s actions were not authorized by law. … 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 released on Tuesday.
In their January filing, prosecutors insisted that Thao had “acted without courage and displayed no compassion,” The New York Post reported.
They also argued that Thao could see that Floyd’s life was ebbing away but still disregarded his training in such cases.
Floyd died on May 25, 2020, after the senior of the four officers, Derek Chauvin, kept his knee on the former’s neck for almost 10 minutes. Floyd’s cries of “I can’t breathe” were caught on video by bystanders.
In April 2021, Chauvin was convicted of murder and manslaughter in state court and pleaded guilty in the federal case.
The two other officers, J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane were convicted with Thao in their federal case and pleaded guilty to state charges of aiding and abetting manslaughter.
“The conviction of Tou Thao is historic and the right outcome,” declared Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, who led the prosecution team, in a statement.
“It brings one more measure of accountability in the tragic death of George Floyd. Accountability is not justice, but it is a step on the road to justice,” Ellison added.
“Nearly three years ago, the images of a police officer murdering George Floyd shocked the world, shattered our community, and devastated those who knew and loved him,” commented Hennepin County Attorney Mary Moriarty.
“Today, the person who aided in the murder by preventing community members from helping Mr. Floyd has been found guilty and held accountable. I hope today’s verdict is another step on the path toward healing for George Floyd’s family,” she added.
Unlike the other three former police officers on the scene, Thao has insisted that he is innocent. In August, he turned down a state plea deal, arguing “it would be lying” to plead guilty.
Thao’s lawyer, Robert Paule, argued the state prosecution had failed to prove his client intended to help commit a crime or that he was aware that Chauvin was committing a crime.
“Every one of Thao’s actions was done based upon the training he received from the Minneapolis Police Department,” Paule wrote.
The judge set August 7 as the sentencing date for Thao and ordered a presentence investigation.
Under Minnesota’s sentencing guidelines, he might receive four years on the manslaughter count, which will be served with his 3.5-year federal sentence.
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