(Minneapolis) One of the police officers present when George Floyd was asphyxiated below an officer’s knee in Minneapolis in 2020 has been found guilty of being an accessory to homicide, according to court documents released Tuesday.
Tou Thao had kept the passers-by terrified by the scene at a distance and who were trying to intervene while the black forty-something was dying on the ground. The ex-policeman has already been convicted of “ violation of the civil rights ” of the victim and sentenced to three and a half years in prison.
A Hennepin County court in Minnesota ruled on Monday that he was guilty of accessory to homicide. His sentence is due August 7.
Tou Thao “was an experienced Minneapolis police officer.” “ He knew that immobilizing (a suspect) face down could kill ”, said the judge in his verdict.
“Like passers-by, Thao could see the life slowly leaving Floyd’s body. Yet he made the decision to actively participate in his death, fending off worried bystanders and even stopping an off-duty Minneapolis firefighter from providing the medical aid Floyd so desperately needed.”
This decision, which closes the legal process in the case of the murder of George Floyd, “is the one that had to be taken”, responded Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison in a press release.
“She brings more accountability to the tragic death of George Floyd. Accountability is not synonymous with justice, but it is one more step on the path to justice,” he added.
On May 25, 2020, white policeman Derek Chauvin, a seasoned Minneapolis police officer, knelt on the African-American’s neck for nearly ten minutes, indifferent to the interventions of shocked passers-by and the groans of George Floyd.
Two other officers had helped hold him down.
The scene, filmed and posted online, sparked huge protests against racism and police brutality across the United States and beyond.
Derek Chauvin was convicted of murder by Minnesota state justice after a well-attended trial and sentenced to 22 and a half years in prison.
Tou Thao is the latest of the police officers involved to be found guilty.