George Floyd killing: Two out of four officers involved flee Minneapolis fearing for their safety
Officer Tou Thao stood and watched as three of his colleagues applied their full weight on the neck, torso and lower body of George Floyd
Police officer Tou Thao stood and watched as three of his colleagues applied their full weight on the neck, torso and lower body of George Floyd. Floyd repeatedly told the officers that he couldn't breathe but none of them moved. Thao, 34, stood on the side and ordered bystanders to maintain their distance and stay away as Floyd lost consciousness, and eventually died. Police officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on Floyd's neck for a sickening eight minutes while Thao, who is a veteran of 10 years, did nothing to intervene and stop the officers. While Thao has been fired from his job, he hasn't been charged in relation to Floyd's death.
According to Hennepin County prosecutor, Mike Freeman, the charges will eventually be laid on Thao, news.com.au reports. It has been revealed that Thao has fled the state. According to Star Tribune, he erased and deleted all his social media handles and turned off his phone and fled. His lawyer has revealed that he is "safely elsewhere" but cannot run from his past. A database that consists of complaints against the police shows that Thao has been the subject of at least six separate investigations. One of these was still pending at the time he lost his job. Two years ago, 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 his fellow officer had allegedly "punch(ed), kick(ed) and kneed" Ferguson. "They had no reason to stop me, they started asking me a whole bunch of questions, where I was going," Ferguson told the Sun.
Thao isn't the only officer to flee Minneapolis. Officer Thomas Lane, who was the first to arrive on the scene, "left Minneapolis and didn’t tell anyone where he was going". The fourth officer who was involved in the death of Floyd, J Alexander Kueng, is reportedly staying with his family in Minneapolis. We had earlier reported that Floyd died after Chauvin kneeled on his neck while restraining him. Floyd repeatedly said he couldn't breathe but in vain. The inhumane incident was captured on video, which has since gone viral, sparking national outrage.
An official post-mortem examination declared the death of Floyd as a homicide on Monday, June 1. According to the lawyer for the Floyd family, Benjamin Crump, "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."
Many celebrities took to various social media platforms to express their disgust and outrage at the incident. Viola Davis wrote on her Instagram handle, "This is what it means to be Black in America. Tried. Convicted. Killed for being Black. We are dictated by hundreds of years of policies that have restricted our very existence and still have to continue to face modern-day lynchings. Here's the thing..... America will never be great until we can figure out a way for it to work for EVERYBODY!!!" Singer Ciara shared, "My heart can't take it, seeing what’s happened to #GeorgeFloyd. This is eerily similar to the death of #EricGarner. There has to be a stopping point in the process of arresting someone. It’s all senseless," she added. The incident has been compared to the death of Garner who was choked by the police in 2014.