Minneapolis ex-cop Tou Thao who told George Floyd 'that's why you don't do drugs' released from jail
Tou Thao, one of the Minneapolis police officers charged in the death of George Floyd, has reportedly been released from jail. The former cop was released on Saturday, July 4, morning on a conditional bond, according to KSTP. His bail was set at $1million without conditions and $750,000 with conditions. Thao is the third officer released on bail of the four arrested in the death of Floyd, an unarmed Black man.
Four Minneapolis police officers allegedly 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, Chauvin, knelt on his neck while the 46-year-old told them to let him stand because he could not breathe. The clip showed Floyd pleading with the officer to allow him to breathe and a few minutes later he became unconscious. Floyd's death has sparked massive protests and unrest across the country. Chauvin, within days, was arrested and charged with murder. The arrest of other officers involved — Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao — followed suit.
Thau, in the viral video, was seen standing and watching as his colleagues applied their full weight on the neck, torso and lower body of Floyd. The former officer also made comments like: "This is why you don't do drugs, kids." Floyd's arrest was not linked to drugs. The former officer was later charged with unintentional aiding and abetting second-degree murder, and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.
Meanwhile, Kueng's attorney, earlier this week, stated that his client will not plead guilty in the case and will instead claim that he acted in self-defense. Kueng, who has been charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and manslaughter, is also set to use justifiable force, and authorized use of force as defenses in his defense argument.
The presiding judge, Peter Cahill, has scheduled the next hearing for September 11 and trials are set to begin next year on March 8, 2021. Of the four officers two, Kueng and Lane, have posted $750,000 bail and are out of prison. All four officers in the case face a sentence of up to 50 years in prison.
Kueng, 26, and the three other former cops appeared in court on June 29, nearly a month after the death of Floyd. The hearing, which lasted for an hour, was the first time all the four defendants in the case appeared in court on the same day. However, each made their appearances separately. None of the former officers have entered pleas.
No cameras were allowed during the court hearing. However, Kueng's lawyer, Thomas Plunkett, filed a motion asking for cameras to be permitted inside the courtroom during the hearings. "Cameras are essential so that the public can see the impact of the state's statements on the proceedings and to ensure confidence in the results," the motion stated. "This case is a very important case for the State of Minnesota and the rest of the country. The impact of this case has been felt worldwide."
Prosecutors in the case, however, opposed the use of cameras inside during court preconviction. Attorney General Keith Ellison, in a statement, said: "I believe cameras in the courtroom will create more problems than it will solve." Ellison added that cameras "could alter the way lawyers present evidence" and that they "may be intimidating to witnesses and impair their ability and willingness to testify."