Updated: August 14, 2020 10:20 PM
Created: August 14, 2020 04:08 PM
Former Minneapolis Police Officer Tou Thao admittedhe could have been "more observant" toward George Floyd while working crowd control, as his partner had his knee to the back of Floyd’s neck, according to a newly released video interview.
The court released the video on Friday, one day after releasing the body camera footage of the former officer — one of four charged in connection with Floyd’s death.
In the roughly one hour and 40-minute interview, Thao tells investigators with the FBI and Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension that he did not see all of the actions of his fellow officers because his focus remained on the crowd that was growing more "hostile."
"Did you see Officer Chauvin’s knee on Floyd’s neck?" an investigator asked him.
"At some point, yes," Thao replied.
Thao goes on to explain that he didn’t get a good look at where exactly Chauvin was applying pressure on Floyd because, again, his focus was on the crowd.
His body camera footage released on Thursday shows his vantage point, where you can also hear bystanders pleading for the officers to check Floyd’s pulse.
"Was the crowd letting you know there was a change in Mr. Floyd’s disposition?" the investigator asked.
"Yes," Thao said.
"And what were they telling you?" the investigator asked.
"They were saying he wasn’t moving," Thao said.
"Did you have concerns about that?" the investigator replied.
"Umm… I was concerned about the crowd. I would hope the other officers would do their job," Thao replied.
Later in the interview with investigators, Thao revealed that his "heart sank" the moment he found out Floyd died in the hospital, but he never spoke a word about it with his partner Derek Chauvin.
One of the more revealing moments came just as the interview was wrapping up.
"Do you think you could have done something differently to intervene?" the investigator asked.
"I’m under the belief that you can always do something differently on every single call… I guess I would be more observant toward Floyd," Thao said.
Thao also told investigators that he and Chauvin were actually called off halfway to the scene but decided to keep going because he wanted to help the two rookie officers.
Thao is charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and manslaughter. He’s currently out on bond.
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