Published on: Tuesday, May 2, 2023

A former Minneapolis police officer who held back bystanders while his colleagues restrained a dying George Floyd has been convicted of aiding and abetting manslaughter (article available here).

Tou Thao, who is already serving a 3 ½ year sentence in federal prison for violating George Floyd’s civil rights, was the last of four former officers facing judgment in state court in Floyd’s killing. He rejected a plea agreement and, instead of going to trial, let a Hennepin County judge decide the verdict based on written filings by each side and evidence presented in previous cases.

The longtime Minneapolis Police Department veteran, who stood between Derek Chauvin and an increasingly upset group of bystanders while Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck and back for over nine minutes, is now set for sentencing for the state case on August 7. The presumptive sentence for aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter is 48 months, but the judge has discretion to modify that sentence. 

Thao’s sentencing will mark the end of criminal proceedings related to Floyd’s death three years ago. Lane took a plea deal in his state court case shortly after his civil rights conviction in federal court, and Kueng followed suit not long after sentencing in the federal case. Following his second-degree murder conviction, Chauvin took a federal plea deal for civil rights violations against Floyd and a teenager he allegedly beat with a flashlight in 2014. 

A civil case brought by Floyd’s family against the officers and the City of Minneapolis, meanwhile, was settled for a record-breaking $27 million in 2021.