The image of a white police officer, Derek Chauvin, kneeling on the neck of a Black man, George Floyd, for 8 minutes and 46 seconds has been etched into the American consciousness.
But for many Asian-Americans like myself, there’s another lingering image from that fatal encounter—the face of the Asian officer who stood by and did nothing as Floyd was violently choked to death.
That officer is 34-year-old Tou Thao. He is Hmong American, a Southeast Asian ethnic community largely present in the Midwest and California. Hmong people make up a large percentage of the immigrant population in the Twin Cities especially, dating back to the resettlement of Southeast Asian refugees due to the Vietnam War.