Ex-police officer in George Floyd death asks for charges to be dropped

Thao’s lawyers will argue there was no way he could have known a crime was about to take place: Getty Images

A police officer charged in connection with the death of George Floyd has applied to have his charges dropped, court documents show.

Lawyers for Tou Thao, 34, have put forward a motion stating that the former Minneapolis police officer could not have known that Derek Chauvin, who knelt on Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes, was about to commit a crime.

Floyd’s death proved to be a tinderbox moment for race relations in the US.

Protesters have taken to the streets on a daily basis in some cities, demanding greater race equality and an end to police brutality.

The demonstrations reignited debates around the world about the legacy of colonialism and the transatlantic slave trade.

Protesters in the UK tore down a statue of the slave trader Edward Colston, while activists in Belgium campaigned for the removal of monuments celebrating King Leopold II.

They argue the continued presence of statues memorialising those involved in the slave trade serves to reinforce and legitimise what they see as racial oppression.

According to a court document filed on Wednesday, defence attorney Robert Paule will argue that the charges against his client are not supported by “probable cause”.

Mr Paule said in the motion that the state must prove Mr Thao knew that Mr Chauvin and others were about to commit a crime and “intended his presence or actions to further the commission of that crime.”

He said Mr Thao’s bodycam footage will show a lack of probable causes. The hearing has been scheduled for 11 September.

Video from the scene showed Mr Thao and two other officers standing by idly as Floyd gasped for air while pinned to the ground under Mr Chauvin’s knee.

Transcripts of police bodycam footage revealed that Floyd said more than 20 times he could not breathe as he was being restrained.

Mr Thao, Thomas Lane, 37 and J Kueng, 26, have all been charged with aiding and abetting both second degree murder and manslaughter.

Lane has also applied to have his charges dropped.

Mr Chauvin, 44, has been charged with second degree murder, third degree murder and manslaughter after Floyd was killed outside a shop in Minnesota on 25 May.

All four officers have since been fired.

Demonstrations continue to sweep major cities across the US – more than three months after Floyd was killed.

Tensions have boiled over on a number of occasions in Portland, Oregon, after the Trump administration sent militarised federal agents to the city in an attempt to quell unrest.

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