Another of the three former Minneapolis police officers who were charged last month for failing to stop former officer Derek Chauvin from fatally restraining George Floyd by kneeling on his neck has filed a motion to dismiss two felony charges against him.
Attorneys for Tou Thao, who was seen on a bystander’s cellphone video keeping people at bay while Floyd was being held down, asked Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill to toss the two aiding-and-abetting charges “on the grounds that they are not supported by probable cause.”
The lawyers, Robert Paule and Natalie Paule of Minneapolis, argue in their three-page motion that county prosecutors had failed to show that Thao knew that Chauvin and the other officers were going to commit a crime. They also argue that prosecutors failed to show that Thao’s presence or actions at the scene were done “to further commission of that crime.”
The Paules wrote that they will submit evidence, including video from Thao’s body camera, police training materials, and video from the bodycam of former officer Thomas Lane, 37, who also has been charged. Like Thao, Lane is seeking dismissal of the aiding-and-abetting charges. Thao lacked the required mental state required to support the charges against him, his lawyers wrote.
Floyd was killed in police custody May 25, provoking protests in Minneapolis and in many other cities across the U.S. and the world.
Thao, 37, was charged with one count of aiding and abetting unintentional second-degree murder, which carries a sentence of up to 40 years, and one count of aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter, which carries a sentence of up to 10 years.
Former officers Lane and J. Alexander Kueng, 26 face two similar charges. Chauvin, 44, faces second- and third-degree murder charges and second-degree manslaughter. Thao’s attorneys are asking for a hearing on their dismissal motion on Sept. 11. Cahill gave prosecutors until Aug. 17 to respond.