Derek Chauvin Day 23 — Hall, Floyd’s Brother and More Experts (Updated)

By Maryam Henein

George Floyd’s friend Morries Lester Hall is being asked to take the stand Tuesday, April 12th, even though he forewarned the court he will likely invoke his Fifth Amendment so as to not incriminate himself. Judge Peter Cahill told defense attorney Eric Nelson to make a list of questions, which they went over during Monday’s morning proceedings.

For instance, Nelson will ask about having counterfeit money in the car, throwing something from the car, giving false identification to police at 38th and Chicago, etc.

Hall denied giving Floyd drugs, Nelson said.

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After the midday break, Cahill ruled that Hall’s statements in Texas are inadmissible, at one point questioning Hall’s credibility.  More missing information.

Via his attorney, Hall told the court that testifying could expose him to potential charges of third-degree murder and other felony allegations.

 

Hall was on the passenger side of the Benz the day Floyd died, and according to the owner of Cup Foods, he also was carrying counterfeit bills. Floyd’s fiancee Courtney Ross also claimed he had sold them illegal prescription pills in the past.

Incidentally, the mainstream has not mentioned it, Minnesota also has a counterfeit pill operation.

Autopsy results revealed illicit drugs — specifically fentanyl and methamphetamine — in his body at the time.

Hall’s testimony reportedly will take place away from the jury, which makes no sense unless this is all theatrics and we’re really watching a reality court TV show where ‘justice for George’ and the fate of a man is based on missing and maligned information.

Consider that the prosecution has already brought in myriad use of force and medical ‘experts’ – some paid. The defense team consists of two while the state has about 10 or 12 on its side.

It is unclear whether any of the other officers will testify or if Chauvin will himself. It seems they have decided to fend for themselves with their own trial set for August. Two were rookies apparently on the fourth day on the job.

The prosecution and the defense had a butting of heads about whether another witness for the prosecution can testify about Chauvin’s use of force. They’ve already had many pathologists comment on the body and claim asphyxia while the actual medical examiner said his heart gave up at the last minute due to variables. So you have experts within the prosecution contradicting themselves.

Strange.

On Friday, Hennepin County’s chief medical examiner Andrew Baker testified that Floyd’s underlying heart disease contributed to his death and that being held down on the street outside Cup Foods was “just more than Mr. Floyd could take.”

How about the sheer stress of getting caught with fake pills and bills while on drugs with a bad heart and fear of going to jail? Again?

Baker’s findings, based on his autopsy the day after the 46-year-old Floyd died, determined he died from “cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression.”

Unlike three prior experts, including Dr. Lindsey Thomas, a medical examiner who was a colleague from 2013 to 2017, did not cite a lack of oxygen, or asphyxia.

Nelson also expressed concern that the prosecution has yet one more opportunity to show the jury the viral video of Floyd’s arrest “minute by minute” and stop it along the way throughout the full 9 minutes, 29 seconds.

Schleicher pledged that the prosecution would only show “certain segments … I’m not having him go through the entire video.”

Cahill ruled the next witness Seth W. Stoughton could only offer his opinion about national use of force standards, and his thoughts on the impact of the bystanders on the actions of Chauvin and the other officers, but he cannot speak as an expert about crowd impact on law enforcement at the moment.

Seth W. Stoughton

Also testifying was Seth W. Stoughton, of the University of South Carolina Law School, a former police officer and academic, bringing a national perspective to the case about law enforcement tactics concerning the use of force.

Stoughton went through various points in the arrest as video clips were shown and said Floyd never should have been put stomach-down on the pavement in the first place.

He said Floyd told officers “thank you” for being removed from the squad car while handcuffed and put on his knees.

Citing there being five officers in total at the scene, Stoughton concluded, “It’s clear from the number of officers here, the fact that he’s handcuffed and has been searched, he doesn’t present a threat. … Given the range of other alternatives available to the officers, it’s just not appropriate to prone someone who is at that point cooperative.”

“No reasonable officer would have believed that [the restraint used on Floyd] was [an] appropriate, acceptable or reasonable force.”

Nelson established that Chauvin’s use of force is affected by many factors at the scene. Also, Nelson said, Stoughton had the luxury of reviewing arrest video in slow motion and repeatedly. 

You can also argue that any theoretical training does not always translate seamlessly into real life. You can go over any incident and damn the participants after the fact for not being perfect. Of course, that doesn’t justify the loss of life.

Nelson noted for Stoughton various elements of the situation that Chauvin only learned AFTER arriving at the scene: two of the officers were in their first days as Minneapolis officers, that Floyd was resisting arrest, an agitated crowd was close by, Floyd was suspected us of illicit drugs, and paramedics were on their way to the scene.

Nelson also suggested that Stoughton rushed to judgment in the early days after Floyd’s death by condemning the actions of Chauvin and the other officers in a Washington Post opinion article he co-wrote on May 29.

“Floyd’s death was a foreseeable consequence of the officers’ actions,” Stoughton wrote with two peers. “They knew they were being observed and recorded, but continued to engage in obvious misconduct.”

Nelson questioned how Stoughton could come to such a conclusion with only being aware of part of the evidence. He replied that the additional evidence he scrutinized only confirmed what he and the others wrote.

Philonise Floyd

The 39-year-old eldest brother of George Floyd broke down in tears and sniffles, telling jurors about his memories.

He shared how close they were growing up in Texas, and cried when a photo of their mother holding George as a baby was shown to the jury.

“That’s my mother, she’s no longer with us, but that’s my oldest brother George. I miss both of them…He loved her so dearly.”

He added that his wedding anniversary is also in May, the same month that his brother (May 25th) and mother (May 30th) both died. “It’s a bittersweet moment because I’m supposed to be happy when that month comes,” he said.

He also described Floyd as a mama’s boy which is also a theme that has been repeated a few times.

“…George, would always be up on our mom. He was a big mama’s boy. … Every mother loves all of her kids, but it’s so unique how they were. He would lay up on her like in the fetus position like he was in the womb.”

He took the stand as part of Minnesota’s “Spark of Life Doctrine” testimony. 



Stemming from a 1985 state Supreme Court case, Minnesota is rare in permitting such personal and often emotional testimony from loved ones of an alleged crime victim in advance of a verdict. In most states, such testimony is reserved for victim impact statements during sentencing if there is a conviction. 

He also went on to say that George even brought people to God.

“…People would attend church just because he was there. Nobody would go out there until they seen him. He was a person everybody loved around the community. He just knew how to make people feel better.”

He also recalled his older brother “used to make the best banana mayonnaise sandwiches. … George couldn’t cook. He couldn’t boil water.”

Philonise also went into basketball and used the word “hooping” many times. On May 25, Floyd told Kueng “I was hooping earlier,” in response to why he was foaming at the mouth. 

Kueng had asked whether he had ingested any drugs and “hooping” also refers to taking drugs rectally.

“He’d say, “Let’s go hooping, … he went hooping every day,” Philonese said.

Judge Cahill ended the day by telling jurors they should expect to hear the defense’s case starting Tuesday and closing arguments from the attorneys next Monday before sequestration for deliberations on the charges.

Jurors could start deliberating as soon as Friday, but Cahill wanted to make sure they would not be sequestered over the coming weekend.

“So, pack a bag” and bring it to court on Monday, the judge told the jurors.

Chauvin is charged with second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter in the killing of Floyd.

Three other fired officers who assisted in Floyd’s 2020 arrest — J. Alexander Kueng, Lane, and Tou Thao — are scheduled to be tried in August on charges of aiding and abetting murder and manslaughter.

You can read reports from past trial days at Maryam Henein’s article archive HERE.

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