George Floyd: Tou Thao's bodycam clip shows ex-cop shouted at people who said 'you're gonna let them kill him'
The former officer stood between his fellow officers and witnesses, who recorded Floyd's death in police custody
Former Minneapolis police officer Tou Thao's recently-released bodycam footage has shown bystanders who were shocked to see George Floyd gasping for breath, as they told Thao "you're going to let them kill him". The video, which was released on Thursday, August 13, shows how Thao stood between his fellow officers and witnesses, who recorded Floyd's brutal death in police custody in Minnesota on May 25.
Four Minneapolis police officers involved in Floyd's death were fired on May 26 after a video of the incident went viral on social media. The footage showed Floyd pleading with officers as one of them, Derek Chauvin, knelt on his neck while the 46-year-old pleaded with them to let him stand because he could not breathe. He asked them to allow him to breathe and a few minutes later he became unconscious. All four officers — Chauvin, Thao, Thomas Lane and J Alexander Kueng — were later arrested in the case.
In the new bodycam footage, Thao appears to be engaging in crowd control, pushing passersby away from the scene and making them stay on the sidewalk as they protest the scene unfolding in front of them. As Chauvin continues to kneel on Floyd's body, one concerned woman asks if Floyd has a pulse, Thao then shouts at her saying she does not know what she is doing.
She retorts saying: "I do know," however the experience she stated is bleeped out of the footage. The man next to the woman then tells Thao: "He's not responsive right now, bro! Is he breathing right now? Check his pulse!" He further asks: "Tou, you gonna let him keep [his knee] like that?"
Clip #3 from Tou Thao body cam. #Mpls firefighter at scene begs officers to check his pulse. Thao’s defense team is seeking to have charges against him dismissed. Currently charged with Aiding/abetting murder. @FOX9 pic.twitter.com/f3EaYoiMeT— Paul Blume (@PaulBlume_FOX9) August 13, 2020
The newly-released footage shows a different angle of the infamous Floyd arrest. Copies of Kueng and Lane's body camera footage were also released after Hennepin County District Court Judge Peter Cahill ordered their release earlier this week. The officers' bodycam footage of Floyd being arrested showed him terrified and pleading for his life as he asked an officer to not shoot him. Floyd, an unarmed Black man, died in police custody, triggering widespread protests in the country against police brutality and systemic racism.
Thao's footage, however, shows a clear perspective of the outrage of the bystanders, which also included a 17-year-old girl. Among the bystanders, a man wearing a black hoodie tells Chauvin: "You're such a man bro. You could've lifted him off the ground. That s*** is messy bro. You know that s*** is bogus."
Chauvin, who was arrested four days after Floyd's death, is currently charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Meanwhile, the rest of the officers, Lane, Kueng and Thao, have also been charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and manslaughter. All of them are currently out on bail except Chauvin.
Thao's attorney, however, wants charges against his client to be dismissed. "When Officer Thao turned his back to Mr Floyd and the three other officers for the last time, Mr Floyd was still alive and breathing," his attorney stated. "Officer Thao did nothing to aid in the commission of a crime." However, Attorney General for Minnesota, Keith Ellison, has argued that all four former officers were culpable and "worked together" do carry out the crime.