May 2, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Former Minneapolis police officer found guilty for role in George Floyd's death

tou thao walks to court wearing a black suit and a blue striped tie and a mask and glasses. his lawyer and a woman, both in suits and a mask, walk behind him

Former Minneapolis Police officer Tou Thao (L) and his attorney Earl Gray exit the Hennepin County Government Center, after a courthouse appearance, on July 21, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

A former Minneapolis police officer who held back bystanders as Derek Chauvin restrained George Floyd has been convicted of aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.

Driving the news: Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill issued his decision against Tou Thao in court documents filed Monday night. The more serious charge of aiding and abetting murder was dropped.

  • Thao, who has maintained his innocence, had waived his right to a jury trial in favor of a bench trial.

Flashback: Then-state prosecutor Matthew Frank argued as part of the proceedings that Thao "made a conscious decision to actively participate in Floyd’s death" by providing crowd control and blocking an off-duty firefighter from providing medical assistance, per KARE 11.

  • Thao's attorney argued that his client was following MPD training and not directly responsible for Floyd's death.

Of note: Thao was convicted of violating Floyd's civil rights in a separate federal trial last year.

  • He's already serving a 3 1/2 year sentence connected to that case.

State of play: Two other officers who were with Chauvin and Thao when Floyd was killed already pleaded guilty to state criminal charges.

What's next: Thao’s sentencing is scheduled for August 7, per Attorney General Keith Ellison.

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