By Peter McLaren-Kennedy • 16 February 2022 • 18:12
Source: Hennepin County Sheriff's Office
Tou Thao, one of three former officers charged in federal court with violating Floyd’s constitutional right, said under cross-examination by prosecutor LeeAnn Bell, that he did not relay any of the onlookers’ concerns about Floyd’s well-being to the other officers. He said he was relying on them to care for Floyd’s medical needs while he controlled the crowd and traffic and that he didn’t think Chauvin’s knee was pressing on Floyd’s trachea.
Thao, J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane are accused of depriving Floyd of medical care. Kueng and Thao are also accused of failing to intervene to stop the May 25, 2020, killing, which triggered protests worldwide and a re-examination of racism and policing in the United States. The charges allege the officers’ actions resulted in Floyd’s death.
Thao testified that when he and Derek Chauvin arrived, his colleagues, Kueng and Lane who are also are expected to testify, were struggling to hold Floyd. Thao said he took a position on the roadway to serve as “a human traffic cone” to keep cars away from the other officers.
He then testified that Kueng knelt on Floyd’s back, while Lane held his legs.
Thao’s attorney, Robert Paule, asked him whether he saw any officers roll Floyd over and perform CPR. He said he did not, and presumed that meant Floyd was breathing.
“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 Floyd even as an ambulance took him away.
Video evidence submitted in court however shows Thao looking at the other officers much of the time, suggesting that bystanders and traffic were not big threats. Thao acknowledged under cross-examination that he did nothing to provide medical care to Floyd or intervene to stop Chauvin even after it appeared to him that Floyd was no longer resisting.
Thao conceded he was standing near Floyd when he stopped speaking and moving.
Prosecutor Bell said: “And you know that’s a red flag.”
To which he replied: “Not always, but you should take note.”
Prosecutors rested their case Monday after calling to the stand doctors, police officers and bystanders to build an argument that the officers should have intervened to stop Chauvin and that they violated their training by not rolling Floyd onto his side so he could breathe or giving him CPR.
Thao’s defence attorneys say that he Minneapolis Police Department provided inadequate training and taught cadets to obey superiors. Chauvin, who was convicted of state murder and manslaughter charges last year over the death of Floyd, was the most senior officer at the scene.
Police tried to arrest Floyd after responding to a 911 call that he used a counterfeit $20 (17.50 euros) bill at a corner store.
Chauvin pleaded guilty to a federal civil rights charge, however the three remaining officers are saying that they are not guilty of violating Floyd’s constitutional right.
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Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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