A longtime friend of George Floyd who was in the passenger seat of his car when Floyd was arrested by four Minnesota police officers and brutally killed, says he did not resist arrest.
Maurice Lester Hall, 42, witnessed his friend’s final moments when white cop Derek Chauvin pressed his knee behind Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes as he pleaded ‘I can’t breathe’, killing him.
‘He was, from the beginning, trying in his humblest form to show he was not resisting in no form or way,’ Hall said.
Hall was tracked down and arrested in Houston, Texas on outstanding warrants and interviewed by Minnesota state investigators, where he broke his silence on the seeing Floyd’s death that has shaken the country.
‘I could hear him pleading, “Please, officer, what’s all this for?”‘ he said Wednesday night to the New York Times.
Maurice Lester Hall, 42, the longtime friend of George Floyd (above) who was in his car when Floyd was stopped by police and brutally killed, is speaking out. He was interviewed by a Minnesota state investigator on Monday
Hall says he and Floyd spent part of his last day together Memorial Day 25 before they were cornered by police on suspicion of using a fake $20 bill at a deli.
‘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,’ he added.
Hall is a key witness in the state’s investigation into the four officers who arrested Floyd and oversaw his death, that triggered national outrage and protests denouncing police brutality.
Hall had provided a false name to officers at the scene of Floyd’s arrest. He left Minneapolis and hitchhiked to Houston two days later, only after visiting a memorial at the site where his dear friend was killed.
Hall had outstanding warrants for arrest on felony possession of a firearm, felony domestic assault and felony drug possession.
‘When the whole world was finding out that they murdered George Floyd. I went and said a prayer where I witnessed him take his last breath, and I left,’ he said.
Derek Chauvin, a 44-year-old white cop who has since been arrested, was seen in footage kneeling on Floyd’s neck for eight minutes as the victim repeatedly said he could not breathe (incident pictured)
Another angle of the infamous video shows Chauvin with his knee on Floyd’s neck and the three other cops right beside him in Minneapolis last Monday
Hall and Floyd are both from Houston and became friends in Minneapolis through a pastor. He said they had been in touch every day since 2016. Hall said he considered Floyd a confidant and mentor.
Hall said arrested on Monday evening by a dozen police officers and questioned for hours by a Minnesota state investigator about Floyd’s death, not his warrants.
On Wednesday Derek Chauvin was hit with a new, more serious count of second-degree murder
‘I knew what was happening, that they were coming. It was inevitable. 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,’ Hall said.
He was then transferred to the Harris County Jail in Houston. On Tuesday he returned to his home in the city after lawyers for for his release.
‘When Mr. Hall’s family found us, he had been isolated in jail for 10 hours after being interrogated until 3am. 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,’ his lawyer Ashlee C. McFarlane, a partner at Gerger Khalil Hennessy & McFarlane, said.
The four former Minneapolis cops involved in Floyd’s death have been fired and on Wednesday were hit with new charges.
Chauvin, the white officer who had his knee behind Floyd’s neck, was hit with a new, more serious count of second-degree murder. He was previously charged with charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
The three other officers – Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng, and Tou Thao – were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder. They were not initially charged in the case.
Chauvin, 44, was arrested last week and is being held at the Minnesota Department of Corrections facility in Oak Park. His bail was raised to $1million on Wednesday.
Lane, Kueng and Thao were taken into custody Wednesday and are being held on $1million bail, county jail records show.
Second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree murder are punishable by up to 40 years in prison, while manslaughter and aiding and abetting manslaughter are punishable by up to 10 years in prison.