Derek Chauvin and Tou Thao: who are the two cops in the George Floyd case?
Both Chauvin and Thao have been involved in multiple use-of-force incident in the past with Chauvin being placed on leave in 2011 after the shooting of a man.
America is once again mourning the death of a black man at the hands of the police force. After a Minneapolis officer was filmed kneeling on the neck of George Floyd for nearly nine minutes, the United States is grappling with the treatment of black men in police custody. In the video the man on the ground, 46-year-old George Floyd, is heard saying "I can't breathe" as a police officer, Derek Chauvin, continued to apply unnecessary force to his neck.
The killing of Floyd saw the police officers first sacked, then charged in relation with Floyd's murder and led to widespread protests in Minnesota and across America.
The police officer kneeling on Floyd's neck was Derek Chauvin. Another officer standing by and keeping an eye on the crowd of people videoing the incident was Officer Tou Thao. Both officers have been involved in use-of-force incidents in the past.
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Chauvin, 44, is a 19-year department veteran according to the Star Tribune and has been involved in a number of shootings during his career. In 2006, Wayne Reyes was shot and killed by police officers after they showed up at the scene of a stabbing and Chauvin was investigated for this.
Chauvin was placed on leave after shooting an indigenous man in 2011 according to the Daily Beast. Chauvin is being represented by attorney Tom Kelly say the Daily Beast in the same report. Kelly represented St. Anthony Police Officer Jeronimo Yanez during the trial for the shooting death of Philando Castile in nearby St. Paul in 2017. During a 2016 traffic stop, Castile was shot and killed by Yanez, who was tried and acquitted of manslaughter.
Tou Thao has been charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder, along with the other two officers, J Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane.
Thao was sued in 2017 by Lamar Ferguson after Thao and his partner stopped Ferguson and his pregnant partner. The victim was handcuffed and beaten and then taken to hospital by the officers. He was then brought to jail in just a torn t-shirt and his underwear despite pleas by the hospital staff to let them man at least get dressed.
Police brutality in the US against black people
The George Floyd case is the latest in a long line of black men losing their lives over trivial matters at the hands of law enforcement.
In this past decade alone there have been numerous cases, with those that grabbed the greatest media attention including the acquittal of neighbourhood watchman George Zimmerman in the shooting death of African-American Trayvon Martin in February 2012, which led to the start of the #blacklivesmatter movement; Michael Brown, an 18-year-old black teenager, was shot by a Ferguson, Missouri police officer in 2014. "Hands up, don't shoot" became the rally cry for that shooting; Eric Garner was also killed in 2014, which sparked further waves of protest against the treatment of black men at the hands of police.
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