Former Minneapolis officer sentenced for aiding in Floyd killing

Tou Thao

MINNEAPOLIS, (Reuters): Former Minneapolis police officer Tou Thao was sentenced on Monday to 57 months in prison for aiding and abetting in the 2020 killing of George Floyd, a Black man who died after his neck was pinned to the ground by another officer’s knee during a botched arrest, local media reported.

Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill handed down the sentence to Thao, a local Fox News affiliate reported. In May, Cahill found Thao guilty of one count of aiding and abetting manslaughter in the second degree for his role in Floyd’s killing.

Thao, a nine-year veteran of the force, held back a small crowd of bystanders while three other officers were subduing Floyd, who police suspected of using a counterfeit $20 bill at a nearby store.

The killing, captured on a bystander’s video that went viral, ignited a wave of protests over racism and police brutality across the U.S. and around the world.

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison and other prosecutors handling the case had asked the judge to sentence Thao to 51 months in prison.

Lawyers for Thao were not immediately available for comment on Monday.

Derek Chauvin, a white officer captured on cellphone video kneeling on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes on May 25, 2020, was found guilty of murder in 2021.

The other two officers, Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng, restrained Floyd’s knees and buttocks while Chauvin knelt on his neck.

Last year, Lane and Kueng pleaded guilty in state court to aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter. Lane was sentenced to 3-1/2 years in prison, while Kueng was sentenced to three years.

At a federal trial last year, Kueng and Lane were also found guilty of violating Floyd’s civil rights. Lane was sentenced to 2-1/2 years and Kueng to three years in federal prison, to run concurrently with the state sentence.

Chauvin was sentenced to 22-1/2 years in state prison for the unintentional second-degree murder of Floyd. Last year, he received a concurrent sentence of 21 years in prison on federal charges of violating Floyd’s civil rights.

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