Current Events

“The Story of Officer Tou Thao”

Tou Thao, the former Minneapolis police officer involved in the George Floyd case, was born in Laos in 1985. He immigrated to the United States with his family when he was a child and grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota. Thao attended Johnson Senior High School in St. Paul, where he graduated in 2003. After high school, he went on to attend Inver Hills Community College, where he earned an associate degree in law enforcement in 2009. Following his graduation from Inver Hills, Thao joined the Minneapolis Police Department in 2009 and served as an officer for over a decade before being fired in the wake of the George Floyd incident. According to public records, Tou Thao, the former Minneapolis police officer involved in the George Floyd case, was the subject of at least six complaints during his time with the Minneapolis Police Department. 

 The specific details of each of the complaints filed against Tou Thao, the former Minneapolis police officer involved in the George Floyd case, have not been made public. However, according to a report by CNN, the complaints against Thao included allegations of excessive force, harassment, and discrimination. One of the complaints, filed in 2017, alleged that Thao and another officer used excessive force during an arrest, resulting in injuries to the complainant. Another complaint, filed in 2018, alleged that Thao and another officer harassed and intimidated a woman during a traffic stop. it is important to note that Tou Thao was one of the four officers present at the scene of George Floyd's death. 

 George Floyd died at the hands of Minneapolis police officers in May 2020 sparked a national conversation about police brutality and systemic racism in the United States. And, while most of the attention has been focused on the actions of former officer Derek Chauvin, who was convicted of murder in April 2021. There is another officer involved in the case whose story has received less attention “that being officer Tou Thao”. Thao played a huge role in the events leading up to Floyd's death. Specifically, Thao was seen on video standing by as Chauvin knelt on Floyd's neck, and he also helped to restrain Floyd by holding back bystanders who were trying to intervene. 

On April 2, 2023 Tou Thao was found guilty of aiding and abetting Manslaughter in the role he played in the death of George Floyd. Thao's actions during the incident have been the subject of much scrutiny and criticism. Many have argued that he should have intervened to stop Chauvin from using excessive force, or at the very least, should have done more to ensure that Floyd received medical attention once it became clear that he was in distress. Thao's failure to act has been seen by many as a reflection of the systemic issues within law enforcement that allow officers to act with impunity, particularly when it comes to the treatment of Black people. 

 As the nation continues to grapple with issues of police brutality and systemic racism, it is important to remember that the actions of all officers involved in incidents like the death of George Floyd must be examined and held accountable.