George Floyd wasn't 'resisting arrest in any form', says friend who was in car with him moments before death
'He was, from the beginning, trying in his humblest form to show he was not resisting in any form or way,' Maurice Lester Hall said after witnessing his friend die before his eyes
George Floyd's friend who was in the car with him and witnessed the African-American man get arrested and later die from police brutality has opened up with his account of the incident for the first time, confirming the fact that Floyd did not resist arrest as the four officers involved in his death initially suggested.
After watching his friend and mentor die before his eyes, 42-year-old Maurice Lester Hall fled to his hometown in Houston, Texas. He was tracked down by the New York Times to whom he gave an interview recently. He said that Floyd, to him, was a fellow Houston native whom he had known for years. The pair spent most of Memorial Day together before the tragic incident.
Hall was in the passenger seat of the car when Floyd was arrested and said that the latter tried from the beginning to diffuse tension with the cops who were arresting him. "He was, from the beginning, trying in his humblest form to show he was not resisting in any form or way," Hall told the paper on Wednesday, June 3, night. "I could hear him pleading, 'Please, officer, what's all this for?'"
Floyd's friend was arrested in Houston on outstanding warrants and interviewed by Minnesota state investigators. Hall is set to be a key witness in the state's investigation into the four officers who apprehended Floyd, which includes ex-cop Derek Chauvin, who used his knee to pin Floyd to the ground by his neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds before he died. Hall said that the visual of his friend being crushed under the officer's leg will be etched in his memory forever.
"He was just crying out at that time for anyone to help because he was dying," Hall said. "I'm going to always remember seeing the fear in Floyd's face because he's such a king. That's what sticks with me, seeing a grown man cry, before seeing a grown man die."
Hall had outstanding warrants for his arrest on felony possession of a firearm, felony domestic assault and felony drug possession. He is also accused of providing a false name to the police officers at the scene of Floyd's arrest. He hitchhiked to Houston two days after Floyd died, following his visit to a memorial set up for his deceased friend at the scene of his arrest. "When the whole world was finding out that they murdered George Floyd," he said, "I went and said a prayer where I witnessed him take his last breath, and I left."
Ashlee C McFarlane, a partner at Gerger Khalil Hennessy & McFarlane, who is representing Hall, said that his client was unfairly treated after his arrest. Apparently he has just left from a family dinner when he was surrounded by a dozen police cars and transferred to the Harris County Jail in Houston on Monday, June 1. He was then questioned for hours by a Minnesota state investigator about Floyd's death and not about the warrants against him. He was released after his attorney showed up on Tuesday.
"When Mr Hall's family found us, he had been isolated in jail for 10 hours after being interrogated until 3 am," McFarlane said. "This is not how you treat a key witness, especially one that had just seen his friend murdered by police. Even with outstanding warrants, this should have been done another way."
Bruce Gordon, a spokesman for Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, which is building the state's case against Chauvin and the three other officers involved in the Floyd case said that an agent from his department had "attempted to contact Mr Hall numerous times to no avail." Hall said that he had stopped taking calls in the days immediately after the incident and was spending time with his family to work through the trauma. "I knew what was happening, that they were coming. It was inevitable," Hall said. "I'm a key witness to the cops murdering George Floyd, and they want to know my side. Whatever I've been through, it's all over with now. It's not about me."