A teenager who worked at the George Floyd convenience store visited the night of his death testified on Wednesday that he felt guilty about the events surrounding Floyd’s murder.
Christopher Martin, 19, took the stand on the third day of witness testimony in the high-profile trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis cop accused of Floyd’s murder.
Martin had been working at Cup Foods, a south Minneapolis convenience store, for barely a month and a half when Floyd walked into the store with a friend on May 25, 2020.
Floyd was “chatty” and “very friendly” and appeared to be under the influence of drugs, Martin said.
The teenager said he subsequently sold Floyd a pack of cigarettes and soon found out that Floyd had used a fake $ 20 bill. Store management had a policy of deducting money from the payroll of any employee who accepted a fake bill from a customer, Martin said, so he reported the fake bill to his manager.
The manager then ordered Martin to exit the store, approach Floyd, who was sitting in a car parked across the street, and tell him to come back inside the store, Martin said.
Martin and another colleague followed the manager’s instructions and approached Floyd’s car, where they saw Floyd sitting in the driver’s seat, another man sitting in the passenger seat, and a woman sitting in the backseat , said Martin. Floyd refused to go back inside the store.
Martin said he then returned to the store and offered to have his salary deducted to end the problem. But his manager ordered Martin to return to Floyd’s car and ask him to return home again, Martin said.
After Floyd refused a second time, Martin’s manager told another store employee to call 911. Minutes later, Martin said, he saw a group of people gathering outside, so he went to check. He heard people “scream” and “scream” and saw Chauvin with his knee on Floyd’s neck, the teenager said.
Martin said he watched the scene unfold, with passers-by demanding that police check Floyd’s pulse as he lay motionless on the ground as Chauvin continued to kneel on top of him.
Security camera video later showed Martin, wearing a gray sweatshirt, khaki-colored pants and a black rag, watching paramedics load Floyd into an ambulance. Attorney Matthew Frank, the assistant attorney general for Minnesota, asked Martin what was on his mind at the time.
“Disbelief and guilt,” Martin said. When asked why he felt guilty, Martin replied, “If I just hadn’t taken the bill, it could have been avoided.”
Chauvin was charged with second and third degree murder as well as second degree manslaughter in Floyd’s death. He pleaded not guilty to all charges.
A video of Floyd’s arrest viewed millions of times around the world showed Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck as he repeatedly stated that he couldn’t breathe. Floyd’s death sparked months of protests against police brutality and a global account of racial injustice.
The person who recorded the viral video – Darnella Frazier, 18 – testified at Chauvin’s trial on Tuesday. Like Martin, Frazier said she felt guilty about what happened that night in May 2020.
“When I look at George Floyd, I look at my father,” said Frazier, who was 17 when Floyd was arrested. “I look at my brothers. I look at my cousins. I look at my uncles. Because they are all black. … and I watch how that could have been one of them.
“I’ve been up for nights to apologize and apologize to George Floyd for not doing more and… for not saving his life,” she said.
But Frazier suggested that it was Chauvin who was responsible for Floyd’s death.
“That’s not what I should have done,” Frazier said. “That’s what he should have done.”
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