Maryam Henein is one brave woman. Henein has written, directed, narrated and, with Sean Hibbeler, produced an eye-opening new documentary about the death of George Floyd titled, “The Real Timeline.”
As all the world knows, the 46-year-old Floyd died in police custody on May 25, 2020. A 17-year-old bystander captured a limited perspective on the last few minutes of Floyd’s life, time enough to cause a $2 billion upheaval that took a dozen lives, fueled a hundreds scams and forced a thousand dishonest “conversations” about race.
“Half truths are dangerous enough to topple a nation,” says Henein, and right she is. By piecing together the available video imagery, especially the police body cams, Henein gets much closer to the truth than did the major media or the Minnesota courts, neither of which bothered to try.
At 7:45 that evening, Floyd buys cigarettes with a bogus $20 bill at Cup Foods, a convenience store co-owned by Palestinian-American Mahmoud Abumayyaleh, “Adam” for short.
Floyd leaves the store, literally skips across the street, and sits in the driver’s seat of a Mercedes SUV. Sitting beside him is friend Morries Hall. Sitting in back is Shawanda Hill, an ex-girlfriend and, like Floyd and Hall, a convicted felon. Hall earlier that day was caught trying to pass a counterfeit twenty of his own.
Strangely, the car doesn’t pull away. Hall would tell Henein that Floyd could not find the key fob. He had earlier told police that Floyd took a couple of Percocets and fell asleep. Truth is the first casualty of homicide investigations.
After determining the $20 was counterfeit, young black clerk Chris Martin is instructed to approach the car and ask Floyd and Hall to come back in and speak to Adam. They refuse.
A few minutes later Martin returns to the car with a co-worker, and Hall rips up a $20 bill in front of them and leaves it in the gutter. He and Floyd again refuse to return to the store.
At 8:01 p.m. a Cup Foods employee calls 911. The police release the transcript of the call but not the audio, nor the identity of the caller. Henein recreates the call in the documentary.
At 8:08 p.m. officers Thomas Lane and Alexander Kueng arrive at the scene. The pair approach the vehicle from the driver’s side. Floyd appears to swallow something as they approach.
Floyd is uncooperative from the start. His hands are all over the place. When Lane pulls his weapon, demanding that Floyd show his hands, Floyd grows hysterical and starts crying, “Please don’t shoot.”
Henein then cuts to bodycam footage from the previous May in which Floyd reacts in much the same way when stopped by the police. Here, too, he begs the police not to shoot him and swallows drugs in their presence.
“Keep your hands where I can f***ing see them,” the exasperated officer yells at Floyd. The second officer threatens to tase him if he continues to resist. Henein wonders whether hysteria is Floyd’s “shtick.”
Back at Cup Foods, Shawanda yells at Floyd, “Stop resisting.” The officers say the same thing more than once. At 8:14, after finally getting him in handcuffs, the officers walk a reluctant Floyd across the street to their vehicle and attempt to put him in the back seat.
“I’m scared as f***,” says Floyd, adding cryptically. “When I stop breathing. It’s gonna go off on me.” Lane offers to stay with him, to roll down the windows, to turn on the air-conditioning. Floyd says, “I can’t breathe,” a line he will repeat for the next 10 minutes.
At 8:16 officers Derek Chauvin and Tuo Thao arrive. They try to help get Floyd in the vehicle, but the muscular 6-foot-6 Floyd will not be subdued. “I want to lay on the ground,” he tells the officers, and they oblige him.
At 8:20 the officers call in for a medical emergency likely for the cut Floyd sustained when he hit his face on the vehicle’s plexiglass divider. At 8:21 they call again, now possibly concerned about his erratic behavior.
Once on the ground, face down, Floyd continues to struggle. Chauvin applies a common restraint that was featured in the Minneapolis police manual, but that was not allowed to be shown at trial.
For roughly six minutes of the famed “8 minutes and 46 seconds” during which Chauvin is alleged to be choking the life out of Floyd, Floyd continues to complain: “My stomach hurts,” “I ate too many drugs,” “I can’t breathe.”
The bystanders do not know he had been saying the latter for the prior 10 minutes. Nor do they know that the “Mama” Floyd calls for is his ex-girlfriend.
Lane questions whether Chauvin should roll Floyd on his side. “I think he’s passing out,” says Lane at one point. He appears to do just that. When the EMTs arrive, it is Lane who initiates CPR inside the vehicle.
Henein suggests that “Adam” may have been an informant, and the 911 call part of a sting. “Something just does not compute,” she says correctly – but inconclusively.
The most powerful case the film does make concerns officer Thomas Lane. On just his fourth day on the job, he does everything he can to save Floyd from himself and is now rotting in a federal prison for his efforts.
Was it a hate crime? Keung is black, Thao Asian. Then, too, the film shows the Minnesota attorney general telling “60 Minutes,” “We don’t have any evidence that Derek Chauvin factored in George Floyd’s race as he did what he did.”
So why exactly are these men in prison? We’ll never know. The courts and the district attorney, Hall tells Henein, “are keeping you dummified in the lack of knowledge.”
“The Real Timeline” will debut on Jan. 16. It is must see for anyone who cares about justice.
To learn more, see www.cashill.com.
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