MINNEAPOLIS, MN– Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman, who first charged former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd, was forced to sell him home after crowds of protesters repeatedly gathered outside his door.
Four days after the death of Floyd, which took place on May 25, 2020, Freeman placed formal charges against Chauvin.
On May 28, 2020 Freeman held a press conference, and some of his remarks were taken out of contexts, prompting activist groups to launch a campaign called “Recall Mike Freeman”.
It is reported that several hundred to over a thousand protesters regularly showed up at his home, causing his family a immense amount of fear.
Prosecutor who charged Derek Chauvin in George Floyd death sold Minneapolis home amid protest security concern https://t.co/eIInzoWM0n
— News Bht (@news_bht) March 31, 2021
Freeman said at the time:
“It’s a violation of my ethics to talk about and evaluate evidence before a charging decision and I will not do that,”
“I will say this: that that video is graphic and horrific and terrible and no person should do that. But my job in the end is to prove that [Chauvin] violated criminal statute.”
The next day, Freeman’s office filed the charges against Chauvin, and issued a statement saying that his remarks were being misinterpreted, and he meant it was favorable to the prosecution’s case to review all evidence.
Shortly after, the case was taken over by Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, however, that did not stop the large crowds from showing up day after day at the residence he had owned for 13 years with his family.
The protesters main argument was that Freeman was siding with the police, which they felt was unfair.
Fox News reported that amid a barrage of public criticism communicated via email, phone calls and social media, Hennepin County spent about $19,000 in salary and overtime costs for sheriff’s deputies to provide security for Freeman between May 27 and early June 2020, according to documents provided to Fox News by the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office on Wednesday.
In addition to the hundreds of protesters at his door, Freeman’s office also received a reported four million emails and 29,000 voicemails regarding Chauvin’s case.
— Jorge Luis Lopez Esq (@AuthorJLLopez) March 31, 2021
Fox News confirmed that the county also spent another $9,385 to contract a private firm to conduct a safety review for an assistant county attorney involved in the case in order to evaluate any potential danger in the official’s normal routine
Freeman officially placed his home on the market in July 2020 for an asking price of $749,000, according to real estate records.
The house, which sustained damage caused by the protesters, did not sell for even close to asking price. It is reported that it did not sell until December of 2020, and went for $600,000, which was less than the $629,000 Freeman and his wife paid for it in 2007.
To add insult to injury, in January, 2021, the Minneapolis City Assessor’s office appraised the house at $826,000 the month after Freeman sold the home.
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Game over? Key witness, friend of George Floyd won’t testify – invokes 5th Amendment
April 1, 2021
MINNEAPOLIS, MN – A friend, and key witness, who was with George Floyd on the day that he died has reportedly informed the courts that he intends to invoke the Fifth Amendment if he is asked to testify in Derek Chauvin’s trial.
Apparently, Morries Lester Hall, 42, who was in the car with George Floyd when police arrived, has via his public defender notified court and parties that he will invoke his 5th A privilege not to testify at the trial.https://t.co/0kN8mBkXyu
— Scott Greenfield (@ScottGreenfield) April 1, 2021
On March 31st, the Hennepin County Public Defender’s Office filed a notice on behalf of 42-year-old Morries Lester Hall, who happened to be in the card with George Floyd when police initially approached him for allegedly using a counterfeit $20 bill at Cup Foods, which stated:
“Mr. Morries Lester Hall, through undersigned counsel, hereby provides notice to all parties in this matter that if called to testify he will invoke his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination.
“Therefore, counsel for Mr. Hall respectfully moves this court to quash the subpoena…and release Mr. Hall from any obligations therein.”
For those uncertain of what the Fifth Amendment essentially covers, it actually encompasses a multitude of rights with respect to both criminal and civil cases. Whenever the Fifth Amendment comes into play, it covers things like the forbidding of double jeopardy, the requirement of due process of law, or that the government must compensate citizens whenever private property is taken for public use.
BREAKING REPORT: George Floyd’s Friend Morries Lester Hall and ‘Key Witness’ in Chauvin Trial WILL INVOKE 5TH AMENDMENT, Declines to Testify..
— Chuck Callesto (@ChuckCallesto) April 1, 2021
But one of the most notable aspects of the Fifth Amendment, and how it appears to be being utilized for in the Chauvin trial, is the right for an individual to not be a witness against themselves in a criminal case – commonly coined as the right to not self-incriminate.
According to authorities, Hall previously referred to himself as a “key witness” in the state’s investigation into the death of George Floyd, and both prosecutors and defense attorney Eric Nelson also had Hall listed as a potential witness with respect to Chauvin’s trial. Hall happened to have been visible in police body camera videos as he was sitting in the vehicle with Floyd before Floyd was detained and subsequently died.
Hall originally said that Floyd was not being aggressive towards police or uncooperative in any way, which was later proved to be untrue by body cameras from the officers involved. In fact, the New York Times reported in June that Hall said Floyd was even trying to defuse the situation.
According to the NYT, Hall stated in June:
“He was, from the beginning, trying in his humblest form to show he was not resisting in no form or way.”
Key witness in George Floyd trial who was in the car with him refuses to testify: Morries Lester Hall had outstanding warrants for his arrest on felony possession of a firearm, felony domestic assault and felony drug possession. Daily Mail Online https://t.co/9KXXGjJZYy
— TheCyberChick (@warriors_mom) April 1, 2021
Officials claim that in the time after Floyd’s death, Hall had allegedly given a false name to police officers when initially interviewed.
Thereafter, Hall reportedly left Minneapolis and was later tracked down in Texas and arrested due to some outstanding warrants regarding felony possession of a firearm, felony drug possession, and felony domestic assault.
While it is unclear what aspects of potential self-incrimination Hall is concerned about if called to testify, court documents filed by the defense allege that Hall may have potentially destroyed evidence while officers were distracted with the detainment Floyd:
“Surveillance video from the nearby Dragon Wok restaurant shows that Mr. Hall appeared to use Mr. Floyd’s resistance as a distraction to destroy evidence.
“The video demonstrates that Mr. Hall watched through the windows of Mr. Floyd’s vehicle to ensure that he was not being observed by police, then…Mr. Hall furtively dropped something into the sewer drain on the street.”
While Judge Peter Cahill has not yet officially ruled on whether Hall will officially be released as a witness, it is likely that he will considering that Hall has preemptively informed the courts that he intends to not deliver any sort of testimony by way of pleading the Fifth Amendment.
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