The murder of George Floyd has sparked outrage across the country this week, with calls for the officers involved to be held criminally responsible for his death. The Minneapolis police officers involved in the incident have been fired from the police department, but Floyd's family members, and even the city's mayor, have called for charges against the former officers, especially Derek Chauvin. who was seen kneeling on Floyd's neck in the viral video that was taken before his death.
Police claim that Chauvin and three other officers were called to a local deli where Floyd was accused of attempting to pass off a counterfeit $20 bill. Chauvin said in his police report that Floyd resisted arrest, but security camera footage from a nearby restaurant showed that Floyd was compliant with the officers as he was put into handcuffs. Chauvin did not make any indication in his police report that he had previous interactions with Floyd, but it turns out that they were previously co-workers.
A former club owner has come forward and told local news channel KSTP that the two men worked for her as security guards at El Nuevo Rodeo club on Lake Street in south Minneapolis. The business was sold a few months ago, but club owner Maya Santamaria says that the two men worked together on the same shift back when it was still open.
“Chauvin was our off-duty police for almost the entirety of the 17 years that we were open. They were working together at the same time, it’s just that Chauvin worked outside and the security guards were inside,” Santamaria told KSTP.
This is certainly an extremely strange coincidence, and this thread could potentially reveal that Chauvin and Floyd had some type of previous involvement. However, Santamaria said that she can't be sure if the pair knew each other, because the club was regularly filled with dozens of security guards and they worked in different parts of the building, with Floyd inside and Chauvin outside. They did work overlapping shifts though, and the probability that the two employees would remain strangers, and then end up ensnared in a murder case is incredibly slim.
Santamaria says that she did not realize that the men in the video were her former employees until a friend told her.
“My friend sent me (the video) and said this is your guy who used to work for you and I said, ‘It’s not him.’ And then they did the closeup and that’s when I said, ‘Oh my God, that’s him.’ I didn’t recognize George as one of our security guys because he looked really different lying there like that,” Santamaria said.
As the protests enter their third day, prosecutors have still not pressed charges against Chauvin or any of the officers involved. Minneapolis' police chief has said that the National Guard will be activated in the state, as the protests become increasingly violent with each day that passes without charges against the officers who were involved in the murder George Floyd.