Judge orders Tou Thao to be tried in death of George Floyd

Judge refuses to drop charges against Minneapolis Police Officer Tou Thao in the death of George Floyd

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A judge this morning refused to drop charges against Tou Thao and two other Minneapolis police officers in the murder of George Floyd.

The Star Tribune reports Thao, J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane will remain charged with one count each of second-degree unintentional murder and second-degree manslaughter.

However, Judge Peter Cahill did drop a charge of third degree murder against Derek Chauvin, the officer seen in video with his knee on Floyd’s neck for eight minutes. Chauvin still is charged with  one count each of second-degree unintentional murder and second-degree manslaughter.

Thao can be seen on video keeping a group of spectators away from Chauvin as he pressed down on the neck of Floyd. Many in the crowd pleaded with the officers to stop as they sensed Floyd’s life was in danger.

According to KARE11, Judge Cahill decided that a jury could reasonably conclude the other officers should have known that their actions allowed Chauvin to continue. He also ruled that its conceivable Chauvin’s action “grossly deviated from a standard of care.”

“The court has sustained eight out of nine charges against the defendants in the murder of George Floyd, including the most serious charges against all four defendants,” Attorney General Keith Ellison said to KARE. “This means that all four defendants will stand trial for murder and manslaughter, both in the second degree. … The court’s decision to dismiss just one of the lesser charges against just one of the defendants — while leaving intact all the charges against the other three defendants — is based on how appellate courts have interpreted the statute in question.”

Thao’s attorney, Robert Paule, had argued the judge should dismiss charges against his client because his focus had been on crowd control and not Floyd’s actions. Thao told prosecutors it was not his job to check on Floyd.

You can read the entire ruling here.

Communities United Against Police Brutality says at least six other complaints have been filed against Thao prior to Floyd’s death. Authorities took no discriplinary action against Thao in the other cases.

Court records indicate a lawsuit against Thao and another officer for excessive force in 2017 was settled out of court for $25,000. Lamar Ferguson accused Thao and Officer Robert Thunder of “cruel and unusual” punishment when both arrested him in October 2014. Ferguson also described Thao as the more aggressive of the two.

via Facebook

Chauvin, is married to Kellie Chauvin, a former Mrs. Minnesota, who has since filed for divorce. She is Hmong American.

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