Officer minimized role in Floyd's death during questioning

Remigio Civitarese
Agosto 16, 2020

On Monday, video captured by ex-Officers Lane and Kueng was released following a legal challenge by a group of media companies arguing for their public release, as the Star Tribune reported.

The video made available Thursday comes from fired Officer Tou Thao, one of four former Minneapolis police officers charged in the death of Floyd, a handcuffed Black man. Floyd died after a white officer, Derek Chauvin, pressed his knee against Floyd's neck for almost eight minutes on a south Minneapolis street May 25 as Floyd repeatedly said he could not breathe. Thao was seen in earlier videos of the incident standing by as three other officers restrained Floyd after he was accused of trying to pass a fake $20 bill at a Minneapolis convenience store on May 25.

Floyd was later pronounced dead at a nearby hospital, having lost consciousness after a police officer (Derek Chauvin) knelt on his neck for more than seven minutes despite Floyd saying he could not breathe. That footage, along with Thao's video, shows Floyd pleading with the officers as they struggle to place him in the squad vehicle in the moments before his death.

The footage is just the latest to show the fatal encounter, which, along with Floyd's death, sparked widespread protests and a renewed nationwide reckoning over race and policing.

Thao orders the crowd onto the sidewalk.

"Almost all situations are not going to be like the one in Minnesota where you actually have to physically remove somebody", Chief Deputy Superintendent Paul Noel said.

Despite policies on the books for years that require officers across the United States to stop colleagues from using excessive force, there has been little or no effort to teach officers how to intervene, law enforcement officials and experts say.

Things grow more tense as men and women in the crowd implore the officers to check on Floyd.

Thao arrived on the scene after Floyd was cuffed, and as fellow officers Chauvin, Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane were struggling to place Floyd in the back of a police SUV.

Thao also pushes, though not as forcefully, a man wearing a white T-shirt, sending him back toward the sidewalk as people try to step into the street to get a better view of what's happening to Floyd.

Floyd repeatedly said he could not breathe and called out for his mother before passing out. Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter. Lane, Kueng and Thao are charged with aiding and abetting both second-degree murder and manslaughter.

The video of Thao's interview was made available on Friday after Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison's office filed it to support a motion to have all four officers tried jointly. Defense attorneys have until September 8 to respond.

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