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Prosecutors show surveillance footage of Floyd in store

MINN FLOYD TRIAL 26
An art piece created by the group Visual Black Justice leans against security fencing outside the Hennepin County Government Center in Minneapolis on Tuesday, March 30, 2021. (Photo: NYTimes)
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MINNEAPOLIS — Prosecutors Wednesday showed surveillance footage of George Floyd laughing and chatting in the Cup Foods convenience store moments before his death in May, providing a glimpse of his actions inside the store for the first time.اضافة اعلان

The footage was played as Christopher Martin, 19, a clerk at Cup Foods, testified about discovering the fake $20 bill that he said Floyd used to buy cigarettes inside the store. It was a clerk’s call to 911 over the bill that brought several police officers to the area, where they handcuffed Floyd and pinned him to the ground outside, and where Derek Chauvin, who is now on trial for murder in Floyd’s death, was recorded kneeling on Floyd’s neck.

In the surveillance footage, Floyd can be seen laughing with employees and shoppers as he moves around the store, at one point holding a banana and at another point pulling out what appears to be some cash. The video was taken about an hour before he was taken away on a stretcher and about two hours before he was pronounced dead at a hospital.

Martin testified Wednesday that he had spoken briefly about sports with Floyd when he entered the store and that Floyd had appeared to be on a drug of some kind.

“It kind of took him a little long to get to what he was trying to say, so it would appear that he was high,” Martin said.

After selling Floyd some cigarettes, Martin said he realized that Floyd had given him a bill with some “blue pigment” on it that made him think it was counterfeit. At the time, Martin said, the store had a policy that clerks who accepted a fake bill had to pay to replace it themselves. He asked a manager what to do, and a manager told him to go to Floyd, who was sitting outside in a car, and ask him to come inside, which Martin said he tried to do twice.

In the wake of Floyd’s death, Cup Foods’ owners temporarily closed the store and said they had changed their policies about when employees should call the police. They also received plenty of criticism.

“People were saying we were responsible for his death, that we had blood on our hands, that we’re the reason he died,” Mahmoud Abumayyaleh, an owner of the market, said last summer.

Genevieve Hansen, a firefighter and emergency medical technician who happened to stumble upon Floyd’s arrest and pleaded in vain for the police to let her help him, returned to the witness stand Wednesday morning.

Hansen, 27, gave sometimes teary and sometimes heated testimony Tuesday, but lawyers for Chauvin and the prosecution had only a handful of questions for her Wednesday. Chauvin’s lawyer asked her if she had shown any identification at the scene of Floyd’s arrest, to which she said she had not.

She was off-duty and on a walk when she saw Floyd being arrested.

Hansen was the first of several witnesses expected to be called by prosecutors Wednesday as they continue to try to build a case against Chauvin, who is facing charges including second-degree murder.

On Tuesday, Hansen had dabbed her eyes as she described being “desperate” to get Floyd medical attention, acknowledging that she had cursed at the officers while doing so.

“There was a man being killed,” Hansen said. “I would have been able to provide medical attention to the best of my abilities, and this human was denied that right.”

In his cross-examination, Eric Nelson, Chauvin’s lawyer, tried to emphasize his argument that by yelling at the police officers, the group of bystanders had diverted the police’s attention from Floyd.

The exchange between Nelson and Hansen grew increasingly testy when he asked her if she would be distracted if people heckled her while she was fighting a fire, and when she admitted, in response to his questioning, that emergency medical workers typically do not approach scenes where the police are working until the officers tell them it is safe.

When Nelson asked if the bystanders at the scene of Floyd’s arrest were upset, Hansen shot back, “I don’t know if you’ve seen anybody be killed, but it’s upsetting.”

The response earned her a warning from the judge — not her last.

Toward the end of Tuesday, when the lawyer asked her about statements she made describing Floyd as a “small, slim man,” she responded by saying that while he appeared small with police officers on top of him, she now knew that he was not small.

“I’m advising you, do not argue with counsel and specifically, do not argue with the court,” Judge Peter A. Cahill said. “They have the right to ask questions; your job is to answer them.”

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