Like a symbol. For Tou Thao, independence day was also that of freedom. On Saturday July 4, as the United States celebrated national holiday in a country devastated by the Covid-19 pandemic, the former Minneapolis (Minnesota) policeman implicated in the death of George Floyd on May 25 jail.
The 33-year-old Asian American paid bail of $ 750,000 and left Hennepin County jail late in the morning, as reported by several American media outlets including CBS and the Star Tribune. He is the third police officer charged in this case to be released on bail, after Thomas Lane and Alexander Kueng. Derek Chauvin, the former officer accused of killing the 46-year-old African American by crushing his neck with his knee for 7 minutes and 46 seconds, is the last of the four to be detained.
Stillness and silence during the arrest
Charged with aiding and abetting second degree murder and manslaughter, Tou Thao faces 40 years in prison, like the four accused ex-cops. He is mainly criticized for his immobility and his silence during the fatal arrest of George Floyd.
Officer Thao did not budge, although several witnesses to the agony of the man kept on the ground by Chauvin begged him to intervene. But the ex-cop was content to dissuade the frightened passers-by from approaching, as a video shows. "He stood guard while Derek Chauvin killed George Floyd," said Ben Crump, lawyer for the victim's family, to sum up Tou Thao's role in the crime.
NEW VIDEO OF # GEORGEFLOYD'S MURDER! Beyond disturbing, even harder to watch than the 1st video. “You're going to let him kill that man in front of you?” Thao stood guard as Chauvin KILLED George ... while bystanders tried to save his life (Full video: https://t.co/bog11TZcDt) pic.twitter.com/coNI2oIb8l- Ben Crump (@AttorneyCrump) June 14, 2020
Joining the Minneapolis Police Department in 2008, this former storekeeper and security guard had suffered the cost of budget cuts a year later. Recalled in 2012, he became an officer. An officer duly trained in the risks of asphyxiation linked to certain immobilization techniques, as confirmed by the chief of police of Minneapolis.
During the appearance of the four defendants last Monday in the district court of the county of Hennepin, the lawyer of Tou Thao announced his intention to request the expatriation of the trial. Robert Paule also requested that the cameras be able to cover the hearings which could begin in March 2021. In the meantime, his client is called to appear with Derek Chauvin at a next hearing on September 11. Another symbolic date.