MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Tou Thao, one of the four former Minneapolis police officers involved in the deadly arrest of George Floyd in late May, has been released from jail late Saturday morning after posting bond, according to Hennepin County records.
Thao is now the third ex-officer to leave custody. Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng have also been freed after posting $750,000 bails. Derek Chauvin, the ex-officer filmed kneeling on Floyd’s neck for almost eight minutes, is still behind bars on a $1 million bond.
Thao, Lane and Kueng all face counts of aiding and abetting second-degree unintentional murder, as well as aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter. Chauvin is charged with second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
All four men appeared in Hennepin County court last week, where Robert Paule, Thao’s attorney, stated his intention to file a motion to move the trial. He also called for TV cameras to be allowed in the courtroom, as did the representatives for the other three former officers.
According to Thao’s personnel file, he graduated from Fridley High School before attending North Hennepin Community College, where he studied law enforcement while working at a Cub Foods. In 2008, he became a community service officer with the Minneapolis Police Department, but lost his job a year later due to budget cuts. He was recalled in 2012 and became an officer.
Floyd died on the evening of May 25 near the intersection of East 38th Street and Chicago Avenue while being arrested by Thao, Chauvin, Lane and Kueng. Thao is seen in cellphone videos standing between bystanders and the other ex-officers, as each restrained the handcuffed Floyd as he begged for his life, stating “I can’t breathe,” and calling out to his deceased mother.
Cellphone video soon spread on social media, leading to both the swift firing of all four men by Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo, and several days of riots, arson fires and looting. Protests soon spread throughout the United States, and around the globe, in the call for police reform and the end of systemic racism against Black Americans.
The official George Floyd memorial GoFundMe account is approaching $15 million as of Saturday evening.