Ex-US Officer Sentenced to Nearly 5 Years in George Floyd Killing Case
Crime US

Ex-US Officer Sentenced to Nearly 5 Years in George Floyd Killing Case


On Monday (local time), Tou Thao was sentenced to four years and nine months in a Minnesota court in connection with his role in the killing of George Floyd. Despite this sentence, Thao did not show any remorse nor admit culpability during the hearing. He took the stand to testify that he had merely served as a “human traffic cone”, restricting the movement of concerned bystanders who had gathered during the fateful encounter on May 25, 2020.

The world watched as videos captured Floyd’s fading cries of “I can’t breathe” while Derek Chauvin, a white former cop, knelt on Floyd’s neck for nine-and-a-half minutes. This murder initiated global protests and sparked a cultural conversation on police brutality and racism.

At the sentencing hearing, Thao discussed his growth as a Christian over the past 340 days in jail but failed to accept any accountability for Floyd’s death. His statement revealed no traces of repentance or reflection, leaving only an eerie silence in its wake.

Floyd’s death presented an opportunity for society to reflect and advocate for justice, but if we’re ever to move forward, it is essential for those responsible to take responsibility for their actions.

Struggling to contain his emotion, Tou Thao addressed the courtroom on Monday with a speech that veered from regret to defiance. Drawing on references from the Bible, he denied the charges for which he was found guilty in May and pledged not to betray his faith.

“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.”

Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill remarked that although he respected Thao’s beliefs, he had hoped to hear more remorse in his address.

“After three years of reflection, I was hoping for a little more remorse, regret, acknowledgment of some responsibility, and less preaching,” he said.

Nevertheless, Cahill elected to sentence Thao to 57 months — the top end of the range recommended under state guidelines, where the standard sentence is 48 months, an even four years. This decision surpassed the 51 months sought by prosecutors and 41 months requested by Thao’s attorney Robert Paule.

On Friday, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was sentenced to 12.5 years in prison for the murder of George Floyd. This sentence runs concurrently with a three-and-a-half-year sentence for his separate conviction on a federal civil rights charge, which an appeals court upheld last week.

Chauvin must first return to federal prison to finish that sentence before being transferred to a Minnesota state prison to serve out the remainder of his punishment, taking into account time already served.
Chauvin’s lawyer, Eric Paule, referred to him as “a good and decent man with a family” in court, and stated that they plan to appeal both the state and federal cases.

Meanwhile, Assistant Attorney General Erin Eldridge gave an impassioned speech during the hearing; citing Floyd’s final words that “reverberated across the globe” during the restraint, lasting over nine minutes, until he lost consciousness and eventually died. She emphasized that now is the time to act to protect our planet, urging people to donate today.

In a sentencing hearing that lasted just over half an hour, former Minneapolis police officer Tou Thao was sentenced for his part in the murder of George Floyd. According to prosecutor Jerry Eldridge, Thao “facilitated” Floyd’s death by standing by and preventing others from helping the dying man, including a Minneapolis firefighter who was a trained emergency medical technician and could have performed CPR on him.

“He knew better and he was trained to do better,” Eldridge said.

Though previously frequent, there was no presence in court from the family or friends of George Floyd to witness the resolution of this case. Eldridge told the court they wanted to grieve in private. Apart from four relatives or friends of Thao, most of the people in the courtroom were journalists, with none present from the Floyd camp. Even after the sentencing, prosecutors left the courthouse without comment to reporters.

The sentence for Tou Thao brings closure to yet another chapter in the tragedy and national controversy surrounding the death of George Floyd.

Former Minneapolis Police Officer Tou Thao was found guilty of aiding and abetting by Judge Peter A. Cahill in connection with the killing of George Floyd. In his 177-page ruling, Judge Cahill wrote that Thao’s actions separated Floyd from the crowd, allowing for Chauvin and two other former officers to continue restraining him and preventing onlookers from providing medical aid. He also noted that Thao being under a duty to intervene to stop the other officers’ excessive use of force, as well as being trained to render medical aid, made his actions even more unreasonable.

Thao had originally rejected a plea bargain on the state charge, claiming he could not plead guilty when he did not believe himself to be wrong. Instead, he opted to let Judge Cahill decide based on evidence from Chauvin’s 2021 murder trial and the Federal Civil Rights Trial in 2022 involving Thao, former officer Thomas Lane, and former officer J Alexander Kueng.

The verdict of this trial is poised to spark further debate and discussion about law enforcement accountability and justice in America.

In a landmark trial, former police officers Tou Thao, Thomas Lane, and J. Alexander Kueng were convicted of criminal charges in connection with the death of George Floyd. Derek Chauvin, the officer who pinned George Floyd to the ground, pleaded guilty to federal civil rights charges, though he has vowed to pursue an appeal of his sentence to the Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, Kueng and Lane pled guilty to state charges of manslaughter and were given length sentences – three-and-a-half years for Kueng and three for Lane. Hmong American Thao and White Lane alongside Black Kueng received concurrent sentences of two-and-a-half and three years respectively in a federal prison. Ordinarily, prisoners in Minnesota prisons are eligible to served two-thirds of their sentence within the prison and then a third on parole, but that is not possible in federal prisons. Instead inmates may be able to shave time off their sentences with good behaviour and compliance.

The death of George Floyd has sparked ongoing national conversations about systemic racism and its effects. It has also set into motion much needed reforms in law enforcement around the country.

Leave a Reply

We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By agreeing you accept the use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.

Close Popup
Privacy Settings saved!
Privacy Settings

When you visit any web site, it may store or retrieve information on your browser, mostly in the form of cookies. Control your personal Cookie Services here.

These cookies are necessary for the website to function and cannot be switched off in our systems.

Technical Cookies
In order to use this website we use the following technically required cookies
  • wordpress_test_cookie
  • wordpress_logged_in_
  • wordpress_sec

For perfomance reasons we use Cloudflare as a CDN network. This saves a cookie "__cfduid" to apply security settings on a per-client basis. This cookie is strictly necessary for Cloudflare's security features and cannot be turned off.
  • __cfduid

Google reCAPTCHA
Human Verification

Decline all Services
Accept all Services
Open Privacy settings