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Former Minneapolis police officer, Tou Thao, charged in George Floyd’s killing, testified that he relied on fellow officers to provide Floyd’s medicare care as he controlled traffic and onlookers.
In the viral video, Thao is seen engaging with the crowd as Floyd screamed for his mother until his dying breath.
George Floyd deserved better.
Thao is one of three former officers charged in federal court with violating Floyd’s constitutional rights on May 25th 2020–a day that Thao and America will never forget.
Thao testified that when he and Chauvin arrived, Officers J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane were struggling with George Floyd. Thao said he took a position on the roadway to serve as “a human traffic cone” to shield cars from the other officers. Kueng knelt on Floyd’s back, while Lane held his legs.
Referring to Floyd, Thao said it was obvious “that he was under the influence of some type of drugs.” He said it seemed clear that Floyd was in a state of “excited delirium” — a racist trope often weaponized against dead Black men by alive White Officers.
In relation to Mike Brown’s murder in 2014, former officer Darren Wilson stated:
“When I grabbed him, the only way I can describe it is I felt like a five-year-old holding on to Hulk Hogan.”
Mischaracterizations and racial stereotypes like the Black Brute are often deployed in American courtrooms. It’s meant to reduce a man to nothing more than irredeemably violent, lewd, and unpredictable. And, it works.
In America, Blackness is always on trial
Thao later stated while on the scene he heard onlookers becoming more anxious about George Floyd’s condition and calling on officers to check his pulse. But he claims his role was crowd control.
And as the video clearly shows, that’s all he did.
His attorney, Robert Paule, asked Thao whether he saw any officers roll Floyd over and perform CPR. He said he did not and presumed that meant Floyd was breathing. So he continued with “crowd control.”
“It indicated that Mr. Floyd was not in cardiac arrest,” said Thao, who later testified that he didn’t know there was anything seriously wrong with George Floyd – even after the ambulance took him away.
Yet Thao’s testimony is flawed according to Prosecutor LeeAnn Bell who noted the video shows Thao frequently looking at the other officers and suggested that bystanders and traffic were not imminent threats.
In addition, Thao acknowledged under cross-examination that he didn’t provide medical care to Floyd or intervene to stop Chauvin even after it appeared to him that Floyd was no longer resisting. Thao also conceded he was standing near Floyd when he stopped speaking and moving.
Thao, Kueng and Lane are accused of depriving George Floyd of medical care. Kueng and Thao are also accused of failing to intervene.
Nine minutes and twenty-nine seconds.
Thao mentioned that on several occasions, he had heard someone say they couldn’t breathe but wasn’t sure they were being honest.
Honesty and Police are rarely synonymous when it pertains to covering up misconduct, and what’s revealed in the coming days will shed light on George’s darkest day.