Aug 7, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Former Minneapolis police officer gets nearly 5 years for role in George Floyd's death

Former Minneapolis Police officer Tou Thao exits the Hennepin County Government Center, after a courthouse appearance, on July 21, 2020. Photo" Brandon Bell/Getty Images

A former Minneapolis police officer has been sentenced to just under five years for his role in George Floyd's death, The Associated Press reports.

The big picture: Tou Thao, who held back bystanders as Derek Chauvin restrained Floyd, is the final of four Minneapolis officers to be sentenced on state criminal charges.

Catch up fast: Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill found Thao guilty of aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter in May.

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

What they're saying: Cahill reportedly cited Thao's lack of remorse when handing down the 57-month sentence, which went above the four years recommended by state guidelines.

The other side: During the sentencing hearing, Thao denied responsibility for Floyd's death, saying he did not mean for anyone to get hurt, per AP.

  • "I did not commit these crimes," Thao said. "My conscience is clear. I will not be a Judas nor join a mob in self-preservation or betray my God."

Of note: Thao was convicted last year of violating Floyd's civil rights in a separate federal suit. He was sentenced to 3 1/2 years in that case.

Zoom out: Chauvin was convicted of murder and sentenced to 22.5 years behind bars. He has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review his conviction following an unsuccessful state appeal.

  • Two other officers who were at the scene when Floyd was killed pleaded guilty to state criminal charges and are serving sentences of 3 and 3 1/2-years.
  • All three are also concurrently serving time connected to federal civil rights charges.

What's next: Thao's attorney told The AP that his client plans to appeal both the state and federal convictions.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to include comments form Thao and his attorney.

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