George Floyd: how a suspected counterfeit $20 bill led to protests across the US
Staff working at Cup Foods grocery store called police after suspecting George Floyd was attempting to use a fake 20 dollar bill. The actual state of the bill has not been confirmed.
George Floyd was killed last Monday, 25 May, after a police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes, despite Floyd pleading that he could not breath. In the aftermath of the killing the United States has been hit by demonstrations and protests, some of which have turned violent, in cities from coast to coast, with the National Guard called into action in at least 15 states.
Suspected counterfeit $20 bill led to 911 call about George Floyd
What led to the police arresting and then killing George Floyd was a call from the staff at the Cup Foods grocery store on Chicago Ave in Minneapolis, who suspected he had tried to use a counterfeit bill to purchase cigarettes.
George Floyd was a regular at the store and the owner, Mike Abumayyaleh, has confirmed that he never had any issue with the 46-year-old.
According to the Abumayyaleh, Floyd went into the store last Monday with another man and a woman. The man attempted to pay using a $20 bill, however the employee suspected it was fake and refused to take it. All three people left the store.
Around 10 minutes later, Floyd came back in and paid for cigarettes using a $20 bill (it's not clear if this was the same original suspicious bill), which was accepted by staff. However they later decided it might be a fake and called the police, following store protocol.
From the 911 call: "Someone [Floyd] comes our store and give us fake bills and we realize it before he left the store, and we ran back outside, they was sitting on their car. We tell them to give us their phone, put their (inaudible) thing back and everything and he was also drunk and everything and return to give us our cigarettes back and so he can, so he can go home but he doesn't want to do that, and he's sitting on his car cause he is awfully drunk and he's not in control of himself."
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Criminal complaint doesn't detail if police checked bill was counterfeit
According to the criminal complaint against Derek Chauvin, the sacked police officer who knelt on Floyd's neck and has been charged with third degree murder and manslaughter, "someone called 911 and reported that a man bought merchandise from Cup Foods... with a counterfeit $20 bill." [Read the whole complaint below]
The complaint continues: "At 8:08 p.m., Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) Officers Thomas Lane and J.A. Kueng arrived with their body worn cameras (BWCs) activated and running. The officers learned from store personnel that the man who passed the counterfeit $20 was parked in a car around the corner from the store on 38th Street."
The officers found Floyd in the car, in the driver's seat. Officer Lane first pointed his gun at Floyd, ordering him to show his hands. When Floyd complied, Officer Lane holstered his gun, ordered Floyd out of the car and handcuffed him. He then explained to Floyd that he was arresting him for "passing counterfeit currency".
The charge sheet does not indicate whether the police actually checked whether the bill was fake, or in fact if they ever saw it or who had possession of it at this point.
Owner says Floyd might not have known bill was counterfeit
Cup Foods owner, Mike Abumayyaleh, said after the death, "what took place after that [calling the police] was not in our hands. The murder and execution was something done by the police and the abuse of power. The police brutality needs to stop."
Abumayyaleh also made the point that Floyd, "may not have even known that the bill was counterfeit."
“Most of the times when patrons give us a counterfeit bill they don’t even know its fake so when the police are called there is no crime being committed just want to know where it came from and that’s usually what takes place this was a very circumstantial event that ended in a tragedy and unfortunately we are taking a lot of animosity,” he said.
Abumayyaleh has offered to pay for Floyd's funeral expenses.
Criminal complaint filed against Derek Chauvin
State of Minnesota County of Hennepin
State of Minnesota,
DEREK MICHAEL CHAUVIN
Prosecutor File No. Court File No.
Filed in District Court State of Minnesota 5/29/2020
District Court 4th Judicial District
The Complainant submits this complaint to the Court and states that there is probable cause to believe Defendant committed the following offense(s):
Charge: Murder - 3rd Degree - Perpetrating Eminently Dangerous Act and Evincing Depraved Mind
Minnesota Statute: 609.195(a), with reference to: 609.195(a) Maximum Sentence: 25 YEARS
Offense Level: Felony
Offense Date (on or about): 05/25/2020
Control #(ICR#): 20200338
Charge Description: That on or about May 25, 2020, in Hennepin County, Minnesota, Derek Michael Chauvin caused the death of George Floyd by perpetrating an act eminently dangerous to others and evincing a depraved mind, without regard for human life.
Charge: Manslaughter - 2nd Degree - Culpable Negligence Creating Unreasonable Risk
Minnesota Statute: 609.205(1), with reference to: 609.205 Maximum Sentence: 10 YEARS AND/OR $20,000 Offense Level: Felony
Offense Date (on or about): 05/25/2020
Control #(ICR#): 20200338
Charge Description: That on or about May 25, 2020, in Hennepin County, Minnesota, Derek Michael Chauvin caused the death of George Floyd by his culpable negligence, creating an unreasonable risk and taking a chance of causing death or great bodily harm to George Floyd.
27-CR-20-12646 Filed in District Court State of Minnesota
STATEMENT OF PROBABLE CAUSE 5/29/2020
On May 25, 2020, someone called 911 and reported that a man bought merchandise from Cup Foods at 3759 Chicago Avenue in Minneapolis, Hennepin County, Minnesota with a counterfeit $20 bill. At 8:08 p.m., Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) Officers Thomas Lane and J.A. Kueng arrived with their body worn cameras (BWCs) activated and running. The officers learned from store personnel that the man who passed the counterfeit $20 was parked in a car around the corner from the store on 38th Street.
BWC video obtained by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension shows that the officers approached the car, Lane on the driver's side and Kueng on the passenger side. Three people were in the car; George Floyd was in the driver's seat, a known adult male was in the passenger seat and a known adult female was sitting in the backseat. As Officer Lane began speaking with Mr. Floyd, he pulled his gun out and pointed it at Mr. Floyd's open window and directed Mr. Floyd to show his hands. When Mr. Floyd put his hands in the steering wheel, Lane put his gun back in its holster.
While Officer Kueng was speaking with the front seat passenger, Officer Lane ordered Mr. Floyd out of the car, put his hands on Mr. Floyd, and pulled him out of the car. Officer Lane handcuffed Mr. Floyd. Mr. Floyd actively resisted being handcuffed.
Once handcuffed, Mr. Floyd became compliant and walked with Officer Lane to the sidewalk and sat on the ground at Officer Lane's direction. In a conversation that lasted just under two minutes, Officer Lang asked Mr. Floyd for his name and identification. Officer Lane asked Mr. Floyd if he was "on anything" and explained that he was arresting Mr. Floyd for passing counterfeit currency.
Officers Kueng and Lane stood Mr. Floyd up and attempted to walk Mr. Floyd to their squad car (MPD 320) at 8:14 p.m. Mr. Floyd stiffened up, fell to the ground, and told the officers he was claustrophobic.
MPD Officers Derek Chauvin (the defendant) and Tou Thoa then arrived in a separate squad car.
The officers made several attempts to get Mr. Floyd in the backseat of squad 320 from the driver's side. Mr. Floyd did not voluntarily get in the car and struggled with the officers by intentionally falling down, saying he was not going in the car, and refusing to stand still. Mr. Floyd is over six feet tall and weighs more than 200 pounds.
While standing outside the car, Mr. Floyd began saying and repeating that he could not breathe. The defendant went to the passenger side and tried to get Mr. Floyd into the car from that side and Lane and Kueng assisted.
The defendant pulled Mr. Floyd out of the passenger side of the squad car at 8:19:38 p.m. and Mr. Floyd went to the ground face down and still handcuffed. Kueng held Mr. Floyd's back and Lane held his legs. The defendant placed his left knee in the area of Mr. Floyd's head and neck. Mr. Floyd said, "I can't breathe" multiple times and repeatedly said, "Mama" and "please," as well. The defendant and the other two officers stayed in their positions.
The officers said, "You are talking fine" to Mr. Floyd as he continued to move back and forth. Lane asked, "should we roll him on his side?" and the defendant said, "No, staying put where we got him." Officer Lane said, "I am worried about excited delirium or whatever." The defendant said, "That's why we have him on his stomach." None of the three officers moved from their positions.
BWC video shows Mr. Floyd continue to move and breathe. At 8:24:24, Mr. Floyd stopped moving. At 8:25:31 the video appears to show Mr. Floyd ceasing to breathe or speak. Lane said, "want to roll him on his side." Kueng checked Mr. Floyd's right wrist for a pulse and said, "I couldn't find one." None of the officers moved from their positions.
At 8:27:24, the defendant removed his knee from Mr. Floyd's neck. An ambulance and emergency medical personnel arrived, the officers placed Mr. Floyd on a gurney, and the ambulance left the scene. Mr. Floyd was pronounced dead at Hennepin County Medical Center.
The Hennepin County Medical Examiner (ME) conducted Mr. Floyd's autopsy on May 26, 2020. The full report of the ME is pending but the ME has made the following preliminary findings. The autopsy revealed no physical findings that support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxia or strangulation. Mr. Floyd had underlying health conditions including coronary artery disease and hypertensive heart disease. The combined effects of Mr. Floyd being restrained by the police, his underlying health conditions and any potential intoxicants in his system likely contributed to his death.
The defendant had his knee on Mr. Floyd's neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds in total. Two minutes and 53 seconds of this was after Mr. Floyd was non-responsive. Police are trained that this type of restraint with a subject in a prone position is inherently dangerous.
Defendant is in custody."
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