Kellie Chauvin is Derek Chauvin’s wife, though they are soon to be ex-spouses. Chauvin, who competed for the title of Miss Minnesota in 2018 and hoped to be the first Hmong winner of the pageant, filed for divorce from her husband following the death of George Floyd. Immediately following the incident, rumors began to spread, alleging that Chauvin is the sister of Tou Thau, one of the three officers on the scene who watched her husband kneel on Floyd’s neck for over eight minutes. None of those three officers did anything to intervene.
In an email, Chauvin’s divorce lawyer, Amanda Mason-Sekula, clarified the matter. “Tou Thau is NOT Ms. Chauvin’s brother,” she wrote, per The Washington Post. “I would GREATLY appreciate help putting that rumor to rest. Her family has been harassed and threatened based on multiple incorrect reports.”
Chauvin has children from a previous marriage. Through her lawyer, she expressed her “devastation” at her soon to be ex-husband’s involvement with Floyd’s death. The statement read,
“[Kellie] is devastated by Mr. Floyd’s death and her utmost sympathy lies with his family, with his loved ones, and with everyone who is grieving this tragedy. She has filed for dissolution of her marriage to Derek Chauvin.
While Ms. Chauvin has no children from her current marriage, she respectfully requests that her children, her elder parents, and her extended family be given safety and privacy during this difficult time.”
Here’s what you need to know:
Kellie Chauvin Does Have a Brother Who Serves as a Police Officer in Minnesota; He Has No Connection to George Floyd’s Death
Chauvin does have a brother who serves as a police officer, Mason-Sekula confirmed, but he works in St. Paul and was not involved in any way with Floyd’s death.
According to the New York Times, Chauvin was born in Laos in 1974, and fled with her family to Thailand in 1977 after the war. It’s not clear when she came to the United States. Thao’s upbringing is less known, though some publications have noted that his name means “son” in Hmong.
The attempted connection between Chauvin and Thao is undoubtedly founded on the fact that Chauvin and Thao are both Asian. Internet sleuths claimed to find other connections between them by searching their background information on websites like Ancestry, but none of this information has any validity to it. One accurate connection is the last name “Thao”: per CNN, a copy of Chauvin’s divorce filing shows that she was formerly known as “Kellie Thao” and “Kellie Xiong.”
Thao Will Be Charged With Aiding & Abetting Murder, Sen. Amy Klobuchar Confirmed on Wednesday
It’s likely that Thao will face greater scrutiny, now that charges are expected to be laid against him and the two other officers who stood by while Chauvin kneeled on Floyd’s neck.
On Wednesday afternoon, Sen. Amy Klobuchar confirmed that Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison would be elevating charges against Derek from third-degree to second-degree murder, and that he would be charging the three other officers as well. Specifically, Thao and the two other officers will be charged with aiding and abetting murder, Klobuchar confirmed.