The Minneapolis convenience store where George Floyd used a forged bill just before he died attracts customers by playing a live stream of Derek Chauvin’s murder case.
A television mounted above an ATM at Cup Foods broadcast the view from the Hennepin County courthouse on Wednesday when a former employee held the witness stand.
The employee, Christopher Martin, testified about how his colleague called the police on May 25, 2020, after raising the alarm about a fake $ 20 bill Floyd used to buy cigarettes.
Martin told the court how Floyd seemed ‘high’ and struggling to hold a conversation when the prosecution released a never-before-seen video from the store.
During Martin’s testimony, Cup Foods owner Mike Abumayyaleh told the New York Times, “This is the first time I’ve seen this footage – it was confiscated the next morning.”
Derek Chauvin’s murder case can be seen on a TV at Cup Foods – the Minneapolis convenience store where George Floyd used a fake bill just before his death last spring
New video featuring Floyd (in the middle of a black tank top) at Cup Foods on May 25, 2020, was played in court on Wednesday
Derek Chauvin (right) watches on Wednesday during day three of his murder trial
Abumayyaleh, who owns the store with his brothers, said he and his associates were closely watching the lawsuit that put Cup Foods in the spotlight internationally last spring.
“We would like to know the outcome,” Abumayyaleh said, but he declined to specify what he hoped the outcome would be.
He said the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension “asked us not to comment until after the trial is over.”
Across the street from the store, about two dozen activists and volunteers gathered for a gathering at the Speedway gas station, just yards from where Chauvin and two other officers pinned Floyd to the ground.
Some attendees told the Times they were keeping up with the trial, while others said they found it too exhausting to watch.
Cup Foods clerk Christopher Martin (pictured), who was at work on May 25, 2020, took the stand on Wednesday to testify how staff called the police on Floyd because they believed he had used a counterfeit $ 20 note
Martin, the Cup Foods clerk who was at work the day Floyd died, testified in detail about the events leading up to the black man’s fatal arrest.
It was Martin who accepted Floyd’s $ 20 bill before realizing it was a fake.
Looking back, Martin said he wished he had never raised the alarm about the bill, believing Floyd might still be alive if he hadn’t, and told the court, “This could have been avoided.”
During the roughly ten minutes of surveillance footage played in court, Floyd was able to stroll through the small shop where he had dropped off his cell phone to be repaired.
He rummaged through his pockets, counted and recalculated bills, took them out and put them back.
At times in the video, which had no audio, Floyd seemed to be talking to himself or randomly to other customers.
After briefly leaving the store and knocking a piece of fruit to the floor as he left, he turned back and seemed excited, excited and distracted again.
At one point he jumped on the spot, shuffled back before throwing his arms over his head and shaking where he was standing one more time.
Twitchy and unable to stop, he made his way to the front of the store again to buy cigarettes with the $ 20 note that the store clerk Martin immediately thought was fake.
Floyd then walked out while Martin held up the bill and examined it. Martin told the court he was suspicious of the bill because it had an unusual ‘blue pigment, so I assumed it was fake’.
“The policy was that if you took a counterfeit bill, you had to pay it out of your paycheck,” Martin explained. “ I took it anyway and planned to just put it on my account – until I second guess myself and finally told my manager. ”
The manager then ordered Martin to go out and bring Floyd back, he said. When Floyd refused, a colleague called the police. One of the responding agents was Chauvin.
Asked by Minnesota Assistant Attorney General Matthew Frank, Martin said the two things he noticed about Floyd were his “size” and that he appeared to be “high.”
However, he said he didn’t find Floyd’s behavior threatening, saying, “ He seemed very friendly, approachable, talkative, he just seemed to have an average Memorial Day to live his life. But he seemed high. ‘
An autopsy found that Floyd had fentanyl and methamphetamine in his system at the time of his death. Chauvin’s lawyers have argued that his true cause of death was a drug overdose, despite the county’s medical examiner considering it a murder due to police reluctance.
Floyd is seen with the $ 20 bill he used to buy cigarettes before a Martin noticed it was fake
Floyd was seen rummaging through his pockets, counting and re-counting bills, taking them out and putting them back
Martin then shared a second video in which he spoke to Floyd and his acquaintances in a car parked in front of Cup Foods. He said he had driven to the car twice and taken his colleagues a second time.
“I informed them to come back to the store and that the bill was fake and my boss wanted to talk to them,” Martin said.
He remembered Floyd sitting in the driver’s seat, “shaking his head, putting his hands on his head. Like, “Why is this happening?” kind of thing. ‘
Floyd repeatedly refused to come back to the store, to which Martin said his manager had ordered an employee to call the police.
He said agents arrived and spoke to the manager while Martin returned to manning the till.
Under constant questioning by Frank, Martin shared how, when the store emptied, he became aware of the commotion at the front of Cup Foods. He went out and was faced with the already escalated situation.
‘I saw people screaming and screaming, I saw Derek [Chauvin] with his knee on George’s neck on the floor, ”he said.
“George was motionless, limp, and Chauvin seemed very … he was in a resting state, meaning he just rested his knee on his neck.”
A second video from outside the store showed Martin (above in gray) speaking to Floyd in a car parked at Cup Foods
Martin is seen outside the store (bottom right) while police held down Chauvin on the other side of a police car
Martin, who lived above the store, said, “I took out my phone first and called my mom and told her not to come down. Then I started recording.
“Later that night I removed it because when they got George off the ground, the ambulance went straight down 38th and the fastest way to get to the hospital is straight on Chicago Avenue.”
Martin said he assumed from this that Floyd was already dead and deleted his recording because he didn’t want to show it to anyone or answer questions about it in the aftermath.
When asked how he had felt absorbing what he had just seen, Martin said ‘disbelief and guilt’.
Martin, who had previously told the jurors that he almost didn’t give up on the fake bill and only did so after he changed his mind, said, “If I hadn’t taken the bill, this could have been avoided.”
When asked if he still worked at Cup Foods, Martin’s voice broke when he said, “No. I did not feel safe. ‘
The image above shows an improvised memorial to Floyd at the site of his fatal arrest last May