Friend says Floyd did not resist arrest

Friend says Floyd did not resist arrest
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A friend of George Floyd who was in the passenger seat of Floyd’s car during Floyd's arrest, said Wednesday night that Floyd did not resist arrest before he died in Minneapolis police custody.

“He was, from the beginning, trying in his humblest form to show he was not resisting in no form or way,” Maurice Lester Hall told The New York Times in an interview.

“He was just crying out at that time for anyone to help because he was dying,” he added. “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.”

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Officials found Hall, 42, on Monday in Houston and arrested him on outstanding warrants before Minnesota state investigators interviewed him about Floyd’s death. 

Hall, a key witness in the state’s investigation into Minneapolis’s four officers involved in Floyd’s arrest, gave a false name to officers on the scene of Floyd’s detainment, a Minnesota official told the Times. Hall had outstanding warrants for his arrest on felony possession of a firearm, felony domestic assault and felony drug possession.

Hall said after having dinner with his family this Monday in Houston, he found his car surrounded by at least a dozen officers. A Minnesota state investigator reportedly questioned Hall for hours about Floyd’s death, not his warrants, until he was transferred to the Harris County Jail in Houston and after his lawyers advocated for his release, was allowed to go home Tuesday.

“When Mr. Hall’s family found us, he had been isolated in jail for 10 hours after being interrogated until 3 a.m.,” Ashlee McFarlane, a partner at Gerger Khalil Hennessy & McFarlane, who is representing Hall, told the Times. “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 the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, which is working on the state’s investigation, said in a statement obtained by The Hill that Hall is a "key witness" in Floyd's arrest and "was not cooperating" with officials, who "were attempting to interview him."

The bureau requested officers in Texas arrest Hall in response, he said.

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But Hall and McFarlane said he cooperated with the official’s interview, and Hall said he wasn’t taking calls in the days after Floyd’s death because he was working through his trauma. 

“I knew what was happening, that they were coming. It was inevitable,” Hall told the Times. “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 had met Floyd, another Houston native, after they had been put in touch by a pastor in 2016.

The passengers in Floyd’s car, a man and a woman, were previously unidentified, and Hall said he did not know the woman’s name.

Floyd died after being detained by Minneapolis police, and bystander footage showed former officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck for about nine minutes while Floyd said he couldn’t breathe and became unresponsive.

Chauvin was originally charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter before his charges were upgraded to second-degree murder Wednesday. The other three officers involved in Floyd’s arrest were charged with aiding and abetting murder on Wednesday.

--Updated at 8:17 a.m.