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3rd Ex-Police Officer Charged In George Floyd's Death Released From Jail On Bond

A third former Minneapolis police officer involved in the killing of George Floyd has been released from jail.

According to Hennepin County jail records, Tou Thao was released from custody with conditions on Saturday morning after posting $750,000 bond.

Thao, 34, faces charges of aiding and abetting second-degree murder while committing a felony, as well as aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter with culpable negligence. He has not yet entered a plea.

He is scheduled to appear in court on Sept. 11.

Thao is one of the four officers accused in the May 25 death of George Floyd, which sparked protests against racism and police brutality across the country and around the world. All have since been fired and are facing criminal charges.

Derek Chauvin, the officer captured on camera kneeling on Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes, was charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter. He remains in custody on $1.25 million bail.

Video of the incident shows Chauvin continuing to press his knee on Floyd's neck, despite repeated pleas by Floyd that he couldn't breathe. The other three officers did not intervene.

According to a criminal complaint filed in June, Thao brought out a hobble restraint to use on Floyd, but the officers decided not to use it and instead "maintained their positions." The complaint describes how Thao stood guard against onlookers as the three other officers held Floyd down by the legs, back and neck.

"The defendant then became concerned about a number of citizens who had gathered and were watching the officers subdue Mr. Floyd, and potential traffic concerns, and so the defendant stood between those citizens and the three officers."

The other two ex-officers, J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane, face the same charges as Thao and have already been released on bond.

A Minnesota judge recently set atentative trial date of March 8 for all four men, but said he expects their attorneys to file motions for separate trials.

Thao joined the Minneapolis Police in 2009, but was laid off that year due to budget cuts and reinstated in 2012. He had six police conduct complaints on his record, one of which was still open at the time of his firing.

Thao was also a subject of a 2017 police brutality lawsuit, which alleged that he and another officer beat a plaintiff during his arrest in 2014, breaking his teeth while he was handcuffed. The city settled the lawsuit for $25,000.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Rachel Treisman (she/her) is a writer and editor for the Morning Edition live blog, which she helped launch in early 2021.
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