Tou Thao convicted of 2nd-degree manslaughter in murder of George Floyd

Last of four defendants in Floyd’s 2020 death convicted after stipulated bench trial agreed to in October 2022

Ellison: Conviction is ‘historic and the right outcome’ that ‘brings one more measure of accountability’

Moriarty: ‘the person who aided in the murder by preventing community members from helping Mr. Floyd has been held accountable’

May 1, 2023 (SAINT PAUL) — A Hennepin County court today found former Minneapolis police officer Tou Thao guilty of 2nd-degree manslaughter in the May 25, 2020 murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Thao was convicted after a stipulated bench trial, to which he and the State agreed on October 24, 2022. 

Thao is the last of the four defendants in Floyd’s murder to be convicted. Former officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of 2nd-degree unintentional murder and 2nd-degree manslaughter by a Hennepin County court on April 20, 2021 and was sentenced to 270 months in prison. The Minnesota Court of Appeals upheld Chauvin’s conviction on April 17, 2023. Former officer Thomas Lane pled guilty to 2nd-degree manslaughter on May 18, 2022 and was sentenced to 36 months in prison. Former officer J. Alexander Kueng pled guilty to 2nd-degree manslaughter on October 24, 2022 and was sentenced to 42 months in prison.  

ChauvinLane, Kueng, and Thao have also been convicted in federal court of violating George Floyd’s civil rights and are serving concurrent federal prison sentences. 

Thao’s sentencing for today’s conviction is scheduled for August 7, 2023.

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, who has been the lead prosecutor of George Floyd’s murder, issued the following statement:  

The conviction of Tou Thao is historic and the right outcome. It brings one more measure of accountability in the tragic death of George Floyd. Accountability is not justice, but it is a step on the road to justice. 

While we have now reached the end of the prosecution of Floyd’s murder, it is not behind us. There is much more that prosecutors, law-enforcement leaders, rank-and-file officers, elected officials, and community can do to bring about true justice in law enforcement and true trust and safety in all communities. To begin with, Congress must act: almost three years after his death, Congress has still not passed the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. That must change, now. 

Many people deserve our thanks: the world-class team that has seen this historic prosecution from beginning to end; the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office for their unflagging partnership; the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension for diligently leaving no stone unturned in the investigation; and the United States Attorney’s Office for their purposeful prosecution of the civil-rights case. I also want to thank community in Minnesota and around the world for their clear, unrelenting focus on accountability and justice. 

Above all, my thoughts today are with George Floyd, his young daughter, and his family. Floyd’s loved ones can never have him back, yet they have turned their private tragedy into a public movement for accountability, healing, and justice that keeps Floyd’s legacy vibrant and alive to this day and beyond. 

Hennepin County Attorney Mary Moriarty issued the following statement: 

Nearly three years ago, the images of a police officer murdering George Floyd shocked the world, shattered our community, and devastated those who knew and loved him. Today, the person who aided in the murder by preventing community members from helping Mr. Floyd has been found guilty and held accountable. I hope today’s verdict is another step on the path toward healing for George Floyd’s family. 

I am grateful to the courageous community members whose cooperation was essential to the successful prosecution of the four defendants. I also give my thanks to the Attorney General and his team, the members of the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office who played a role, and the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension for their investigation. 

Those of us in leadership positions in the legal system have much work to do when it comes to building trust and safety in our communities. We must all commit to doing our part to make our neighborhoods safe for everyone.