Thao’s Body Worn Camera Video Has More Damning Evidence       

Defendant Tou Thao’s BWC (body-worn camera) video of the George Floyd arrest and killing is now part of the public file in his criminal case. [1]

 Previous Evidence of the Floyd Arrest and Killing [2]

We know from previous reports in this case, including descriptions of the BWC of defendants Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng, that Lane and Kueng first arrived at the Cup Foods corner and approached the car outside with George Floyd in the driver’s seat, removed him from the car and first took him to the adjacent sidewalk and had him sit comfortably with his back against the wall. Floyd was upset by the apparent arrest, but there was no mistreatment of him. Then Lane and Kueng walked Floyd across the street and over Floyd’s objections, forced him into the back seat of their squad car with Floyd immediately managing to leave that seat and fall on the nearby pavement.

At about that time, fellow officers Derek Chauvin and Tou Thau arrive at the scene in their squad car. Almost immediately Chauvin and one of the officers handcuff Floyd behind his back and force him to lie on the pavement with Chauvin’s left knee on or near his neck while Lane and Kueng also sit on Floyd’s back. They remain in those positions for seven minutes and 48 seconds while Floyd cries, “Mama” and “I can’t breathe” and “Don’t kill me” and finally “I am dying.”

Thao, on the other hand, is not participating in the physical restraint of Floyd, but is standing several feet away near the sidewalk as an increasing number of bystanders approach the squad car, observe Floyd being restrained on the pavement and making his pleas for life while the bystanders voice their demands for the officers to stop the restraint of this man. Later an ambulance arrives and Floyd is put on a gurney and placed in the ambulance with Lane going along to help. Later at the hospital Floyd is pronounced dead.

Thao’s BWC[3]

Thao was holding back nearly a dozen bystanders, many taping the scene with their cell phones, while Chauvin, Lane and Kueng were physically restraining Floyd, who was lying prone on his face on the pavement near a police squad car.

A Black man wearing a Northside Boxing Club sweatshirt yells at Chauvin to “get off his (expletive) neck, Bro” and asks Thao “you gonna keep him like that?” while motioning at Floyd. The bystander continues, “You gonna let him kill that man right in front of you, Bro? Bro, he’s not even moving right now, Bro.”

Another Black man in a black hoodie and shorts tells the officers he has been trained at the police academy and asks Thao if Chauvin is using a “jiu-jitsu move.” Thao responds, “He’s talking, so he’s fine.” A few minutes later this man steps into the street and says, “He’s f***ing dead, bro.” Thao shoves him back toward the sidewalk and says, “Don’t touch me again” prompting other bystanders to shout that the Black man had never touched Thao.

Thao orders the crowd onto the sidewalk. At one point, he tells the onlookers, apparently a 17-year-old girl taping the scene on her phone with a 9-year-old girl beside her, “This is why you don’t do drugs, kids.” Thao also said the officers had spent 10 minutes trying to get Floyd into the back seat of the squad car; the actual time was about 4.5 seconds.

A White woman out of uniform identifies herself as a Minneapolis firefighter and asks if the officers have checked Floyd’s pulse. Thao yells at her, “Back off!”

The man in the Boxing Club sweatshirt then says, “Check his pulse. You bogus, Bro. You call what he’s doing OK?”

A young woman yells, “What the (expletive) are you doing? He’s dying.”

When a man approaches Thao with a phone, Thao shoves him back toward the sidewalk, yelling, “Get out of the street!”


[1] Xiong, Third body camera video in George Floyd killing shows officer pushing bystanders, StarTribune (Aug. 13, 2020); Griffiths, Wolfson, Owens & Bailey, New footage released of George Floyd’s fatal encounter with police, Wash. Post (Aug. 13, 2020); Baenen (Assoc. Press), Ex-cop’s video captures crowd’s horror during Floyd arrest, StarTribune (Aug. 14, 2020); Booker, Body Camera Video Of George Floyd And Police Offers New Details of Deadly Encounter, (Aug. 14, 2020); Exhibits Attached to Affidavit of Matthew Frank, State v. Thao, Court File No. 27-CR-20-12949 (Hennepin County District Court Aug. 12, 2020) (Ex. 3 (Thao BWC video on flash drive).

[2]  Journalist’s Report on Viewing Two Bodycam Footages of George Floyd Killing, (July 15, 2020); British Newspaper Releases bodycam Footage of George Floyd’s Arrest and Killing, (Aug. 5, 2020). See generally List of Posts to dwkcommentaries—Topical: George Floyd Killing.

[3] See n.1.

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As a retired lawyer and adjunct law professor, Duane W. Krohnke has developed strong interests in U.S. and international law, politics and history. He also is a Christian and an active member of Minneapolis’ Westminster Presbyterian Church. His blog draws from these and other interests. He delights in the writing freedom of blogging that does not follow a preordained logical structure. The ex post facto logical organization of the posts and comments is set forth in the continually being revised “List of Posts and Comments–Topical” in the Pages section on the right side of the blog.

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