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Prosecutors Fight To Keep Charges Against Cop Who Handled Crowd Control During Floyd Arrest

Minneapolis, MN – Prosecutors asked a Minnesota judge not to dismiss the charges against one of the officers in the George Floyd case in a court filing late on Monday.

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison’s office claimed there was “more than sufficient” evidence to charge former Minneapolis Police Officer Tou Thao with aiding and abetting in Floyd’s murder, the Associated Press reported.

Former Officer Thao’s attorneys filed a motion to dismiss on July 30 that said prosecutors didn’t have enough evidence to support probable cause for the charges against their client, who was the officer who was handling crowd control during Floyd’s arrest.

But prosecutors said former Officer Thao was culpable because kept bystanders back, the Associated Press reported.

“As Floyd lost consciousness, a crowd of bystanders pleaded with Thao,” prosecutors wrote in a court filing in opposition to dismissal of the charges. “They told him that the officers were killing Floyd. They screamed that Floyd had stopped moving. They alerted Thao that Floyd had stopped breathing. And they begged Thao almost 30 times to take Floyd’s pulse.”

“But instead of intervening on Floyd’s behalf, Thao continued to push the crowd of bystanders back to the sidewalk, allowing the other officers to continue to pin Floyd to the ground — with Chauvin on Floyd’s neck, Kueng on Floyd’s back, and Lane on Floyd’s legs,” prosecutors alleged, according to the Associated Press.

Prosecutors say that former Officer Thao minimized his role in the incident when he was interviewed by investigators.

He described his actions during Floyd’s arrest as acting like “a human traffic cone” whose job was to hold back the gathering mob, the Associated Press reported.

Robert Paule and Natalie Paule, the Minneapolis lawyers representing former Officer Thao, filed a three-page motion that argued the charges should be dismissed, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.

Officer Thao was the officer in the video who was handling crowd control while Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin held Floyd down with a knee on his neck with the assistance of former rookie Officers Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng.

The video showed Officer Thao had his back to Floyd and the officers for most of the incident.

In the motion, the Paules argued that prosecutors had failed to show that Officer Thao knew the officers behind him were going to commit a crime, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.

Nor did prosecutors show their clients actions or presence at the scene were done to further commission of that crime, according to Thao’s lawyers.

Former Officer Thao’s attorneys wrote that they planned to submit evidence, including their client’s own bodycam video, along with police training materials, and video from former Officer Lane’s bodycam, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.

They also wrote former Officer Thao had lacked the required state of mind to support the charges that had been levied against him.

Attorney Earl Gray, who is representing former Officer Lane, filed a motion along with supporting documents on July 7 that asked the judge to dismiss the charges against his client in connection with the death of Floyd, KMSP reported.

His motion also said that there was a lack of evidence to support probable cause for the charges against that former officer, too.

Former Officer Lane is also charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter in connection with Floyd’s death in the custody of the Minneapolis police on May 25.

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Written by
Sandy Malone

Managing Editor - Twitter/@SandyMalone_ - Prior to joining The Police Tribune, Sandy wrote the Politics.Net column for the Wall Street Journal and was managing editor of Campaigns & Elections magazine. More recently, she was an internationally-syndicated columnist for Conde Nast (BRIDES), The Huffington Post, and Monsters and Critics. Sandy is married to a retired police captain and former SWAT commander.

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