MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – An attorney for one of the four former Minneapolis police officers charged in the death of George Floyd argues his client only handled crowd control.
Defense attorney Robert Paule filed a memo Wednesday supporting his earlier motion to dismiss charges against Tou Thao for lack of probable cause. The memo said Thao had his back to what was going on as Officer Derek Chauvin, who is white, pressed his knee to the neck of Floyd, a handcuffed Black man. Chauvin pressed his knee to Floyd’s neck for nearly eight minutes on May 25 even after Floyd pleaded for air.
According to the memo, Thao offered a hobble restraint to the other three officers, but they refused it. The memo also argues Chauvin was using a non-deadly, Minneapolis Police Department-approved neck restraint, and that Thao and the other three officers “had been repeatedly trained to use neck restraints.”
After the other officers refused his offer of a hobble restraint, Thao “immediately turned his attention to crowd control” and kept his back to Floyd and the other officers for the majority of the remainder of the arrest, the memo said.
“When Officer Thao turned his back to Mr. Floyd and the three other officers for the last time, Mr. Floyd was still alive and breathing,” the memo said. “Officer Thao did nothing to aid in the commission of a crime.”
Thao never placed his hands on Floyd, according to the memo, and asked about the status of an ambulance, radioing police dispatch to hurry up the response.
An attorney for another former officer, Thomas Lane, also plans to argue that charges against his client should be dismissed.
Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter. Thao, Lane and another officer, J. Kueng, are charged with aiding and abetting both second-degree murder and manslaughter. All four officers were fired.
Their next court hearing is scheduled for Sept. 11.