A former Minneapolis Police Department officer was sentenced to five years in prison for his role during the 2020 death of George Floyd. Former officer Tou Thao argued that his role during the event was to hold back protesters as they approached the scene in which Floyd died.
Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill sentenced Thao to five years in prison this week. The judge said that he was hoping that the former officer would have a “little more remorse, regret, acknowledgment of some responsibility and less preaching.”
Thao had told the court that he did not intend to hurt anyone during the incident and cited his growing Christian faith.
Thao’s legal team is planning to appeal the sentence.
The former officer was found guilty of aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter in May. He had previously been convicted of federal charges of violating Floyd’s civil rights.
The judge wrote in May that the former officer’s actions were “objectively unreasonable from the perspective of a reasonable police officer when viewed under the totality of the circumstances.”
Thao has spent nearly the last year in jail awaiting the trial and sentencing.
Thao also represented the last court case of four officers involved in the situation leading to Floyd’s death.
Former Minneapolis police officer Tou Thao was sentenced to 4-3/4 years in prison for aiding and abetting manslaughter in the 2020 killing of George Floyd, a Black man whose neck was pinned to the ground by another officer's knee during a botched arrest https://t.co/whNYXgIdMl pic.twitter.com/gKfD2aSQxn
— Reuters (@Reuters) August 7, 2023
In the most high-profile case related to the death, former officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of murder and manslaughter in April 2021. He also pleaded guilty in the federal case regarding Floyd’s civil rights.
The other two officers involved in the May 2020 encounter, J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane, each pleaded guilty to state charges of aiding and abetting manslaughter. Both were convicted along with Thao in the federal civil rights case.
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison (D) said that the sentence brought “one more measure of accountability in the tragic death of George Floyd.” He also requested that Congress pass a number of changes to federal policing laws.
Ellison said that although the court cases were finished, the situation was “not behind us.” He said that more could be done to “bring about true justice in law enforcement and true trust and safety in all communities.”