Who is Morries Lester Hall? George Floyd's friend who was in car with him refuses to testify in Chauvin's trial
'I walk with Floyd. I know that I'm going to be his voice,' Hall had said after Floyd's death last year
Morries Lester Hall, who was in the car with George Floyd during his arrest last year, had initially spoken out about the incident, inisiting that Floyd did not resist arrest. He was also a key state witness in the murder trial of Derek Chauvin, the police officer who was publicly seen kneeling down on Floyd's neck, till he stopped breathing.
In a surprising turn of events, Hall has now pleaded Fifth Amendment and refused to testify in Chauvin's ongoing trial. On Wednesday, March 31, 2021, Hall filed a motion with Hennepin County District Court where he gave notice that he would plead the Fifth if called upon to testify by either side. His decision came at the end of the third day in Chauvin's trial, during which the jurors saw a previously-unseen footage of Chauvin trying to wrestle Floyd into a patrol car, with his hands around Floyd's neck.
Who is Morries Lester Hall?
Forty-two-year-old Morries Lester Hall, whose name was earlier spelled as Maurice, looked up to Floyd as a friend and mentor. He had known him for many years as a fellow Houston native, he told New York Times in an earlier interview from June 2020.
Before Floyd's death, Hall had spent most of Memorial Day together with him on May 25, 2020. The duo went together to Cup Foods where Floyd reportedly purchased cigarettes with a fake $20 bill. At the time of his arrest by police officers Lane and Keung, Hall was in the passenger seat of the same blue Mercedes SUV as Floyd. He stated that Floyd was humble with the cops from the beginning and did not resist arrest in any form.
Hall also added 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. 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," he said.
Why is Hall no longer testifying?
After Floyd's death last year, Hall agreed to serve as a key witness to the case. He even 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." He also previously said, "I walk with Floyd. I know that I'm going to be his voice."
The DailyMail states that despite his prior promises, Hall did not appear to be completely cooperative with the investigation. He was accused of providing a false name to the cops during Floyd's arrest. He also had outstanding warrants against him for felony charges of firearm possession, domestic assault and drug possession.
Two days after Floyd's death, he said a prayer at the spot of his death and hitchhiked back to Houston. On June 1, he was taken to a jail in Houston and interrogated for over 10 hours in isolation about Floyd's death by a Minnesota state investigator.
Presently, Hall is refusing to provide witness testimony at the trial. The legal document filed by Hennepin County Public Defender about Hall reads: "Mr Morries Lester Hall…hereby provides notice to all parties in this matter that if called to testify he will invoke his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination."