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Ex-Minneapolis officer unrepentant as he gets nearly 5 years in George Floyd killing

by Madison Thomas
7 comments
fokus keyword Tou Thao

Tou Thao, the last of the former Minneapolis police officers to be convicted at the state level in the killing of George Floyd, showed no signs of remorse or acknowledgment of guilt as he received a sentence of 4 years and 9 months on Monday.

In the past, Thao had described his role in the incident as merely being a “human traffic cone,” holding back the gathering crowd while his colleague Derek Chauvin, a white officer, kneeled on Floyd’s neck for over 9 minutes on May 25, 2020. Floyd, a Black man, begged for his life during the ordeal, and his death led to international protests and a nationwide examination of police brutality and racism.

During Thao’s sentencing, he emphasized his growth as a Christian while in custody for 340 days but denied any role in Floyd’s death. He drew comparisons to biblical figures like Job and Jesus in his long-winded remarks and insisted he was innocent, stating, “My conscience is clear. I will not be a Judas nor join a mob in self-preservation or betray my God.”

Judge Peter Cahill, who found Thao guilty of aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter in May, expressed disappointment in Thao’s lack of remorse and subsequently sentenced him to 57 months, the maximum within state guidelines. This sentence exceeded what both the prosecution and Thao’s defense had requested.

Thao’s sentence will be served concurrently with a 3 1/2-year federal sentence related to a civil rights charge that was upheld on appeal. He will complete the federal term first before being transferred to a Minnesota state prison. Thao’s attorney, Robert Paule, who praised his client’s character, later announced intentions to appeal in both state and federal cases.

During the hearing, Assistant Attorney General Erin Eldridge emphasized the global impact of Floyd’s last words and argued that Thao allowed Floyd’s death to occur by stopping others, including an emergency medical technician, from intervening.

In his extensive ruling, Judge Cahill noted that Thao’s actions were “objectively unreasonable,” as he separated Chauvin from the crowd, failed to intervene to stop the excessive force, and neglected to render medical aid.

Thao had previously rejected a plea deal, opting to have Cahill decide his case using evidence from Chauvin’s 2021 murder trial and the federal civil rights trial of Thao and former officers Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng. All three were convicted, and they are serving their sentences along with Chauvin, who pleaded guilty to federal charges.

Lane and Kueng received state sentences of 3 and 3 1/2 years, and federal sentences of 2 1/2 years and 3 years, respectively. They are all serving these sentences concurrently. Thao is of Hmong American descent, while Kueng is Black and Lane is white.

In Minnesota, inmates usually serve two-thirds of their sentences in prison and one-third on parole, unlike the federal system, where good behavior can reduce sentence time.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about fokus keyword Tou Thao

Who is Tou Thao?

Tou Thao is one of the former Minneapolis police officers convicted in the killing of George Floyd. He was sentenced to 4 years and 9 months and showed no remorse during his sentencing hearing.

What role did Tou Thao play in George Floyd’s death?

Tou Thao held back concerned bystanders while Derek Chauvin kneeled on George Floyd’s neck. He was found guilty of aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter but denied any responsibility for Floyd’s death.

What was Tou Thao’s sentence?

Tou Thao was sentenced to 57 months, or 4 years and 9 months, for his role in George Floyd’s death. This sentence will run concurrently with a separate 3 1/2-year federal sentence for a civil rights charge.

Did Tou Thao express any remorse at his sentencing?

No, Tou Thao did not express any remorse or admit wrongdoing during his sentencing. He even made lengthy remarks drawing parallels with biblical figures and insisted on his innocence.

Are there any other convictions related to George Floyd’s death?

Yes, along with Thao, former officers Derek Chauvin, Thomas Lane, and J. Alexander Kueng were also convicted. Chauvin received a state conviction, while Lane and Kueng pleaded guilty to state charges of aiding and abetting manslaughter.

What was the reaction of the judge during Thao’s sentencing?

Judge Peter Cahill expressed disappointment in Thao’s lack of remorse and sentenced him to the maximum within state guidelines. He noted that Thao’s actions were “objectively unreasonable” and that he had failed in his duty to intervene.

Will Thao’s attorney appeal the sentence?

Yes, Thao’s attorney, Robert Paule, announced that they will appeal in both the state and federal cases, referring to Thao as “a good and decent man with a family.”

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7 comments

Sarah_T87 August 8, 2023 - 5:07 am

This whole trial has been a nightmare for everyone; justice was served but at what cost? still cant shake the images from that video

Reply
Tom_S August 8, 2023 - 5:28 am

the whole system needs change, not just these convictions; theres more to do in addressing police brutality.

Reply
JamesR August 8, 2023 - 6:31 am

can’t believe Thao showed no remorse, it’s like he doesn’t even care that a man died.

Reply
KevinW August 8, 2023 - 9:44 am

Thao’s lawyer will appeal? what a joke. The verdict was clear. 4 years and 9 months is not enough in my opinion

Reply
MaddyJ August 8, 2023 - 11:48 am

Its heartbreaking to think of the Floyd family… Hope they find peace.

Reply
Rick1984 August 8, 2023 - 3:59 pm

Police reform is needed, its more than just these four officers. glad there’s a verdict but more needs to be done.

Reply
Jenna.K August 8, 2023 - 7:13 pm

What did Thao expect, drawing parallels to Job and Jesus in his defense? seems out of touch, Sentencing seems fair to me.

Reply

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