The lawsuit was reportedly filed by Lamar Ferguson, who claimed Tou Thao and another officer subjected him to "cruel and unusual" punishment when they arrested him in October 2014. The suit was settled out of court for $25,000, Ferguson’s attorney told the Tribune.
Ferguson and a woman who was eight months pregnant were walking home when Thao and another officer, Robert Thunder, reportedly searched him without a warrant, arrested him and began punching and kicking him.
The officers reportedly took him to the hospital for medical treatment before taking him to jail wearing only his underwear and T-shirt to the dismay of hospital staff.
In a deposition, Thao claimed that he was arresting Ferguson on an outstanding arrest warrant and only punched him because his hand slipped from the handcuffs.
“He tries to pull away,” Thao said in the deposition, according to the Tribune. “And he puts his hands on me and tries to give me a stiff arm in a way to try to get me off of him. After — at this point he’s actively resisting arrest. He — so I had no choice but to punch him. I punched him in the face. It causes him to pause a bit which gives Officer Thunder the time to come around and help.”
Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, was detained and subsequently died in police custody in Minneapolis on Monday. A bystander video recording showed one officer kneeling on Floyd’s neck for at least eight minutes, while Floyd said he couldn’t breathe.
The video sparked outrage across the country, and many, including the Minneapolis mayor, called for the officers involved in the arrest to be charged with Floyd’s death.