Former cashier felt ‘incredulous and guilty’ when police confronted George Floyd
A former cashier at a Minneapolis convenience store who claimed George Floyd gave him a fake $ 20 bill testified Wednesday that he felt “in disbelief and guilty” as he later looked at the black man of 46. years old being pinned to the ground by the police.
“If I wouldn’t have done it [taken] bill, it could have been avoided, ”said Christopher Martin, 19, who was an employee of the Cup Foods store.
Martin was testifying on the third day of the murder trial of former Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin.
Chauvin, 45, who is white, faces two murder charges – unintentional second degree murder and third degree murder – in Floyd’s death. Floyd died after Chauvin rested a knee on Floyd’s neck for about nine minutes while two other officers held him down. Video captured by a spectator shows Floyd, in handcuffs, has repeatedly said he cannot breathe.
Chauvin, who was fired from the police force after Floyd’s death, is also charged with the lesser offense of second degree manslaughter.
Along with Martin’s testimony, the Hennepin County District Court also saw approximately 10 minutes of video footage of Floyd inside the Cup Foods convenience store, where he had gone to buy cigarettes.
In the video, Floyd can be seen walking around the store, standing in line, laughing, and doing what appears to be a brief dance.
Martin testified that Floyd was very friendly, approachable and talkative and that he asked Floyd if he played baseball.
‘Looked like he was high’
Floyd replied that he played football but it took a little while to “get to what he wanted to say” and that it “looked like he was high,” Martin told the court.
Martin said he sold Floyd a pack of cigarettes, at which point Floyd handed him a $ 20 bill. When Floyd left the store, Martin said he looked at the invoice and determined, because it contained “blue pigment”, that it was counterfeit.
Martin also noted that the store’s policy is that counterfeit bills accepted by cashiers will be taken from their pay.
He said he originally planned to just put the bill on his “tab” and thought Floyd “didn’t really know it was a bogus bill.”
However, Martin warned the store manager, who told Martin to come out and ask Floyd to come back to the store.
Refused to return
Martin said he tried this twice, once with a colleague and a second time with two different colleagues. Both times, Martin said, Floyd refused to return to the store.
It was after the second refusal that the manager told another colleague to call the police.
After police arrived, Martin said he stepped outside as people gathered on the sidewalk and yelled at officers who were confronting Floyd. He then called his mother, with whom he lived in an upstairs apartment, and told him to stay inside. He then took out his phone and started recording.
Martin said he saw one of the agents, Tou Thao, push one of his colleagues. Martin said he also restrained another man who was trying to defend himself after being pushed by Thao.
On cross-examination by Chauvin’s defense attorney Eric Nelson, Martin told the court that Floyd had been in the store earlier with another man. This man, said Martin, had been caught passing a fake $ 20 bill, a bill that looked like the one Floyd had paid with, Martin said.
The prosecution claims Chauvin crashed his knee into Floyd’s neck, an application of unreasonable force which she said led to his later death in hospital. But Chauvin’s defense contends that the 19-year-old veteran police officer did exactly what he was trained to do and that Floyd’s death was the result of a combination of underlying medical conditions and drugs in his system.
Three other officers present at the scene were dismissed. Thao, J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane have been charged with aiding and abetting second degree murder and aiding and abetting second degree manslaughter, and will be tried in August.