MINNEAPOLIS – The man who was in the vehicle with George Floyd on the last Memorial Day before his fight with the police appeared in court on Tuesday for a hearing on potential testimony in the murder trial of former officer Derek Chauvin.
Morries Hall was subpoenaed as a witness at the trial, but he filed a motion late last month, saying he would decline to answer questions if forced to testify. He appeared via Zoom.Judge Peter Cahill on Tuesday tasked defense and government attorneys with drafting questions narrowly tailored to Hall, who may still have to testify.
Meanwhile, Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo told jurors Monday that Chauvin’s detention on Floyd “absolutely” violated departmental policy. He said the restraint should have ceased “after Mr. Floyd ceases to resist” and “after he was in distress and fined him”.
Chauvin is charged with second degree murder, third degree murder and second degree manslaughter. Floyd, a black man, died in police custody on May 25, 2020, after Chauvin, who is white, pinned his knee to Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes.
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- Court resumed at 8:30 a.m. CST for a hearing on the motions on Tuesday, with jurors returning to the courtroom at 9:15 a.m.
- Jurors heard from more than 20 witnesses.
- Katie Blackwell, who led the trainings for the Minneapolis Police Department, said the department taught officers to use one or two arms during a neck restraint – not a knee.
- The doctor who provided emergency care for Floyd at the Hennepin County Medical Center said Monday that at the time of the incident, he believed Floyd had died from lack of oxygen, rather than a overdose or heart attack.
- Public security officials said on Monday that the trial was going “smoothly” and that there was no indication “that there is an imminent threat to the legal process or to either of the Twin Cities.”
Morries Hall, who was in a vehicle with George Floyd, appears in court
Judge Peter Cahill will not immediately let a man who was in a car with George Floyd avoid testifying in the trial of former cop Derek Chauvin.
Cahill tasked defense and government attorneys to draft questions narrowly tailored to Morries Hall, who appeared in court on Tuesday via Zoom. He is being held at the Hennepin County Public Security Center on unrelated charges.
Hall was subpoenaed as a witness by both the Chauvin Defense and the government. However, Hall filed a motion late last month to quash the subpoena on the grounds that he would invoke his Fifth Amendment right against incrimination and refuse to answer questions if forced to testify.
Adrienne Cousins, a deputy public defender representing Hall, said the questioning would inevitably involve questioning about Floyd’s alleged drug use and other potential crimes. And that, she argued, could leave Hall open to a possible third degree murder charge in the future for implication in Floyd’s death.
Judge Peter Cahill approved Hall’s request to wear civilian clothes and not prison scrubs for the hearing, according to a court file.
Hall’s name was questioned last week. Senior defense attorney Eric Nelson asked Floyd’s girlfriend Courteney Ross about Hall. Ross admitted that she told FBI investigators that Floyd had bought narcotics from Hall, but in court she said she “hadn’t seen it with my own eyes.”
Ross said she was in a car at a hotel while Floyd bought pills a week before her death. She said she was on the phone with him and thought she heard Hall’s voice in the background. She testified that she only learned after the fact that Floyd was with Hall on the day Floyd died.
Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo: Floyd’s detention ‘absolutely’ violates policy
Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo, who fired Derek Chauvin and three other officers involved in the incident, said when questioned Monday that he believed Chauvin was trying to employ conscious neck restraint on Floyd, which involves using light to moderate pressure on a person who is actively resisting the police, in accordance with department policy.
But looking at a still image of Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck, Arradando said from the image and facial expression of Floyd, it “does not appear in any way, shape or form, that it ‘ is light to moderate pressure. ” Arradando added: “I strongly disagree that this is the appropriate use of force for this situation.”
The restraint should have ceased “once Mr. Floyd stops resisting” and “once he was in distress and fined him,” Arradondo said. He added that “there is initial reasonableness in trying to get it under control in the first few seconds” only.
“And it is clear that when Mr. Floyd was no longer responsive and even immobile, continue to apply that level of force to a pronounced person, handcuffed behind the back. Supported by our training, and that is certainly not our ethics. or our values, ”said Arradondo.
Arradondo said officers violated department policy by failing to provide first aid to Floyd when he appeared not to be breathing, as they waited for an ambulance.
On cross-examination by defense attorney Eric Nelson, Arradondo admitted that he had not made an arrest, personally, for many years. He also acknowledged that in a side-by-side comparison of the spectator video and the body camera video of an officer, it appears that in the latter, Chauvin’s knee is more on Floyd’s shoulder blade than on his. neck.
The moment in the video came at the end of the incident, after paramedics arrived and checked Floyd’s pulse on his neck. In the body camera video, Chauvin can be seen moving his knees and leaning back slightly.
Doctor told jurors he believed lack of oxygen, not overdose or heart attack, was the ‘most likely’ cause of death
Dr Bradford Langenfeld testified Monday morning, telling jurors he was leading Floyd’s care at Hennepin County Medical Center and spent about 30 minutes trying to resuscitate him before declaring him dead.
When questioned by District Attorney Jerry Blackwell, Langenfeld said the paramedics who brought Floyd to the hospital gave him no information that Floyd may have had a drug overdose or suffered a heart attack.
Langenfeld said Floyd had some electrical activity around the heart, but no pulse. Floyd’s heart never started beating on its own “to a degree necessary to sustain life,” he said.
Asked by Blackwell what was determined to be the cause of Floyd’s cardiac arrest, Langenfeld said: “At the time, based on the history I had, I felt that hypoxia was the one of the most likely possibilities. Hypoxia is a lack of oxygen, which Langenfeld says led to Floyd’s death from asphyxiation.
During cross-examination by lead defense counsel Eric Nelson, Langenfeld admitted that a combination of fentanyl and methamphetamine can cause hypoxia. A Floyd toxicology screen after his death found fentanyl and methamphetamine in his system.