Minneapolis ex-cop Tou Thao says his 'heart sank' when he was told George Floyd was dead

The former Minneapolis police officer had said in a voluntary interview that his training had led him to believe that Floyd could actually breathe at the time

                            Minneapolis ex-cop Tou Thao says his 'heart sank' when he was told George Floyd was dead
(Getty Images)

Former police officer Tou Thao has revealed that his "heart sank" when he learned that George Floyd had died. Thao was one of four officers involved in the arrest of Floyd. Thao's colleague Derek Chauvin had knelt on the neck of Floyd for a sickening eight minutes despite Floyd saying that he was unable to breathe. Eventually, Floyd lost consciousness and died with none of the officers even trying to move Chauvin off his neck. 

While Chauvin knelt on the neck of Floyd, Thao did nothing to intervene and stop the situation. Two other officers involved, Thomas Lane and J Alexander Kueng, assisted Chauvin in restricting Floyd. As a result, Chauvin faces charges of second-degree murder and manslaughter. The three other officers are charged with aiding and abetting murder. Recently, Thao spoke out about Floyd's arrest while doing an interview with the FBI and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. A video of the interview was released on Friday, August 14. 

We had earlier reported about this interview where Thao reportedly said the crowd that surrounded them while they were arresting Floyd turned "hostile" and he was keeping an eye on them instead of seeing the arrest. He claimed that he was a "human traffic cone".

Thomas Kiernan Lane, Tou Thao, Derek Chauvin and J. Alexander Kueng (Hennepin County Sheriff's Office)


According to KSTP news, in the interview, Thao said that he had not been observing all of the actions that his fellow officers had done during the arrest. The investigator asked Thao, "Was the crowd letting you know there was a change in Mr Floyd's disposition?" 

Thao replied saying, "Yes." The investigator then asked the ex-cop, "And what were they telling you?" to which Thao said, "They were saying he wasn’t moving." The investigator proceeded to ask him, "Did you have concerns about that?" Thao answered, "Umm… I was concerned about the crowd. I would hope the other officers would do their job." Later in the interview, he said his "heart sank" when he heard that Floyd had lost his life but he never spoke about it to Chauvin or anyone else. 

Thao had said that his training had led him to believe that Floyd could actually breathe at the time. The investigator also asked Thao, "Do you think you could have done something differently to intervene?" to which he said, "I’m under the belief that you can always do something differently on every single call… I guess I would be more observant toward Floyd."

Demonstrators march down Pennsylvania Avenue near the Trump International Hotel during a protest against police brutality and the death of George Floyd, on June 3, 2020, in Washington, DC (Getty Images) 

The lawyer for the Floyd family, Benjamin Crump, said, "Beyond doubt, he would be alive today if not for the pressure applied to his neck by officer Derek Chauvin and the strain on his body by two other officers. The ambulance was his hearse." Thao had also shared with the investigators that he and Chauvin had actually been called off halfway to the scene but had decided to go anyways in order to help the other two rookie cops who were new on the job. 

We had earlier reported that Thao and another Minnesota officer were involved in a case that was settled out of court when the city of Minneapolis paid an African American man, Lamar Ferguson, $25,000. According to the lawsuit, Thao and the other officer had allegedly "punch(ed), kick(ed) and kneed" Ferguson. While speaking to The Sun, Ferguson had said, "They had no reason to stop me, they started asking me a whole bunch of questions, where I was going."

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