One of the former Minneapolis police officers involved in the murder of George Floyd spoke out publicly on the fatal arrest for the first time.
In court Tuesday (February 15), Tou Thao testified that he was relying on the three other officers at the scene to attend to Floyd's medical needs while he controlled bystanders. Thao told the court that when Derek Chauvin arrived, he stood in the street to serve as a "human traffic cone" to keep other vehicles away.
Thao, along with Thomas Lane, and J. Alexander Kueng, are all charged with violating Floyd's civil rights on May 25, 2020 when they were called to a convenience store over an alleged forged $20 bill.
According to NBC News, Thao said he heard the group of about 15 bystanders become more anxious during the nine and half minutes that Chauvin and the other officers knelt on Floyd's body, calling on officers to check the 46-year-old's pulse.
Thao's attorney, Robert Paule asked him if he saw any of the other officers turn Floyd over to perform CPR. Thao said he didn't and assumed it mean that Floyd wasn't breathing.
"It indicated that Mr. Floyd was not in cardiac arrest," Thao said. Later in his testimony, Thao said he didn't realize something was seriously wrong with Floyd, even when an ambulance took him away.
Lane and Kueng are also expected to testify in the federal trial. Chauvin was convicted of state murder charges and is currently serving a 22 and half year prison sentence. He pleaded guilty to the federal civil rights violation charges.
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