Former Minneapolis Police Officer Tou Thao Sentenced to Prison for George Floyd’s Killing
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Former Minneapolis Police Officer Tou Thao Sentenced:
Tou Thao, a former Minneapolis police officer, was given a 4-and-a-half-year prison term for complicity in George Floyd’s manslaughter in 2020. District Judge Peter Cahill of Hennepin County delivered the much awaited sentence after the terrible death of Floyd sparked huge demonstrations against racism and police brutality in the US and around the world. Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison’s recommendation of 4-1/4 years is exceeded by Thao’s punishment. Before passing judgment on Thao, Judge Cahill stated his need for greater regret and an admission of guilt from him.
Thao, a nine-year police veteran, was crucial in getting Floyd into custody, which led to Floyd’s demise. Floyd, a Black guy, spent more than nine minutes with his neck forced to the ground by another officer’s knee. The shocking episode, which was caught on a smartphone camera, galvanized the globe and led to a just-war campaign.
In May, Judge Cahill found Thao guilty of second-degree manslaughter for his role in the fatal arrest. Video shows Thao holding back onlookers as Derek Chauvin, another officer, kneeled on Floyd’s neck. In 2021, Chauvin, a white officer, was found guilty of murder and given a 22-1/2-year state prison term.
Thao’s federal conviction for infringing on Floyd’s civil rights is also taken into account while determining his sentence. His previous prison sentence of three and a half years, which was imposed for the federal offense, will run concurrently with the new sentence. In his trial, Thao insisted that he was acting honestly and without malice and that the circumstances were difficult. In court, he declared, “I didn’t want to do anything malicious or… try to damage anyone. I never intended to do that. I tried my hardest to do the best I could.
The other officers involved in Floyd’s arrest were sentenced before Thao. Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng, who were responsible for holding Floyd’s knees and buttocks down, received prison sentences after pleading guilty in state court to encouraging second-degree manslaughter. In a federal trial, they were also convicted of violating Floyd’s civil rights.
In addition to their federal jail terms, Lane was given a penalty of 3-1/2 years, and Kueng was given a sentence of three years.
Tou Thao’s sentencing opens a new significant chapter in the events that followed George Floyd’s death and emphasizes the initiatives taken to make those responsible for his murder accountable. The significance of this case for the ongoing fight for justice cannot be understated, especially given how the country continues to deal with issues of racial inequity and police wrongdoing.
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