The last of the four former Minneapolis police officers involved in the killing of George Floyd, a Black man whose death sparked worldwide protests, has been sentenced to nearly five years in prison.
Tou Thao, 35, pleaded guilty in September to violating Mr Floyd’s civil rights by failing to intervene when his colleague Derek Chauvin knelt on Mr Floyd’s neck for over nine minutes in May 2020. Thao also admitted that he did not provide medical aid to Mr Floyd, who repeatedly said he could not breathe.
On Tuesday, US District Judge Paul Magnuson sentenced Thao to 57 months in prison, followed by two years of supervised release. The judge said he took into account Thao’s cooperation with the prosecution and his remorse for his actions.
Thao is the fourth and final officer sentenced in the case. Chauvin, who was convicted of murder and manslaughter in April 2021, was sentenced to 22 and a half years in prison in June 2021. The other two officers, J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane, who also pleaded guilty to civil rights charges, were sentenced to six and four years respectively in November 2021.
The four officers also face state charges of aiding and abetting murder and manslaughter, which are scheduled for trial in June 2023.
The killing of George Floyd sparked a global movement against police brutality and racial injustice, with millions of people taking to the streets in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. The case also prompted calls for police reform and accountability in the US and beyond.