Derek Chauvin's wife Kellie is NOT officer Tou Thao's sister, family receiving threats because of fake reports
Social media users have been claiming that Officer Tou Thao is Kellie Chauvin's brother and she should be implicated
A lawyer for Kellie Chauvin, the wife of the Minneapolis police officer at the center of protests against police brutality around the country, has urged the public to stop spreading misinformation that she was the sister of one of the other officers involved George Floyd's death.
Floyd, a 46-year-old truck driver, died on Memorial Day after Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for eight minutes and 46 minutes while he cried and pleaded, "I can't breathe."
Chauvin, as well as three other officers at the scene who allegedly took no action — J Alexander Kueng, Thomas K Lane, and Tou Thao — were immediately fired from their positions, and Chauvin has been charged with third-degree murder and assault in connection to Floyd's death.
In the aftermath, Kellie Chauvin, who has filed for divorce from her husband, has been targeted by false social media posts claiming her brother was amongst the officers at the scene, something that she has categorically denied.
"I don't trust Kellie Chauvin," one Twitter user wrote. "Sis is protecting her assets and money she gained from pageants... Also her own brother Tou Thao was one of the cops that stood by as her husband killed George Floyd..."
"Tou Thao is Kellie Chauvin’s brother," another tweeted. "She knew everything. She needs to be dragged for this as well. She was married to Derek Chauvin for 11 years. She’s a crook and scam artist."
Posts making the claim also circulated on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, as well as Minneapolis’ Hmong community. Some of the posts also included photos of Chauvin, Tou Thao, and Kellie Chauvin together, seemingly implicating her in Floyd's death.
However, Amanda Mason-Sekula, her divorce lawyer, insisted in an email to the Associated Press that her client shared no relation to Tou Thao and that the family had been harassed and threatened because of the misinformation.
"Tou Thao is NOT Ms. Chauvin’s brother," she said. "I would GREATLY appreciate help putting that rumor to rest. Her family has been harassed and threatened based on multiple incorrect reports."
The confusion appears to stem from the fact that both Kellie Chauvin and Thao are Asian. Kellie Chauvin was born in Laos in 1974 before her family fled to Thailand in 1977 following the war. Users highlighted how that her maiden name was Thao and that it was proof she was related to Tou Thao. They also pointed out that she had a brother in uniform.
Kellie Chauvin does have a brother in the police force, conceded Mason-Sekula, before adding that he served in St Paul and was not involved in any aspect of Floyd's death.
MEA WorldWide (MEAWW) previously reported that Kellie Chauvin had filed for divorce from Chauvin after he was charged with murder and said her "utmost sympathy" lies with Floyd's family.
"She is devastated by Mr. Floyd’s death and her utmost sympathy lies with his family, with his loved ones and with everyone who is grieving this tragedy," Mason-Sekula said at the time. "She has filed for dissolution of her marriage to Derek Chauvin."
According to court papers, she has applied to change her name as part of divorce proceedings.