Karen Ruiz, Daily Mail, May 28, 2020
The Mayor of Minneapolis says he believes George Floyd would still be alive today if he had been white, as it’s revealed the 46-year-old black man was arrested, pinned to the ground, and ‘murdered’ by cops for allegedly trying to pay at a local deli with a counterfeit $20 bill.
Floyd, a father of two, died on Monday night after a white police officer knelt on his neck for eight minutes in an incident that was captured on video and has sparked violent protests and riots in the city that left one looter dead.
In widely circulated footage of his arrest, Floyd was seen on the ground with his hands cuffed behind his back as white officer Derek Chauvin pinned him to the pavement until he lost consciousness and later died.
In an interview with CNN on Thursday, Mahmoud Abumayyaleh, the co-owner of Cup Foods deli, broke his silence revealing one of his employees had called the police after Floyd allegedly handed them a bogus bill.
The store owner said a family member then witnessed Floyd being restrained and tried to intervene, reportedly asking the officer to take his knee off the man.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said earlier this morning that he considers Floyd’s death to be a murder.
‘I’m not a prosecutor, but let me be clear. The arresting officer killed someone,’ he told CBS.
‘He’d be alive today if he were white.’ The facts that I’ve seen, which are minimal, certainly lead me down the path that race was involved.’
The mayor’s comments come a day after he publicly called for the police officer involved in Floyd’s death – who has since been identified as Derek Chauvin – to be arrested and criminally charged.
All four police officers involved in the fatal arrest were fired on Tuesday and have been identified as Derek Chauvin, Thomas Lane, Tou Thao, and J Alexander Kueng.
Frey said that most people, especially people of color, would already be behind bars over the incident, and urged Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman to lay charges on the officer.
‘I’ve wrestled with, more than anything else over the last 36 hours, one fundamental question: “Why is the man who killed George Floyd not in jail?”‘ he said.
He later added: ‘I saw no threat. I saw nothing that would signal that this kind of force was necessary.’
Abumayyaleh, who said he did not see Floyd resisting arrest, revealed the incident was also captured on the grocery store’s surveillance camera but cannot be shared publicly because it is under investigation.
He said Floyd had already exited the store after one of his workers had noticed the cash he used was fake.
‘My staff called the police, practicing protocol, and when the police arrived Floyd was still outside and that’s when they approached him,’ he said.
‘I viewed [the footage] and what I see was devastating. It was very heartbreaking, and our condolences go out to the family and friends of George Floyd.
‘Our camera angle shows exactly what was reported by the outside bystander. What I see is exactly what you see, ‘ he added.
Cup Foods, which has been a part of the community for over 30 years, has been in the background of riots and protests over Floyd’s killing and has also received backlash from angry residents, Abumayyaleh said.
‘Although we have a village of supporters behind us, there’s a small percentage of people who are angry and want answers, and we understand that.
‘But let’s take that anger towards the people who took the action against the individual that killed. Let’s take that anger and use it towards bridging and fixing the problem in our system that is causing minorities in this country to be killed,’ he said.
Cops were reported to have located Floyd in his car near 38th and Chicago Ave in south Minneapolis on Monday after receiving calls of a ‘forgery in progress’ and alleged he got out of the car before ‘physically resisting officers’.
However additional footage from the scene later emerged casting doubt on the version of events as it appears to show Floyd cooperating with officers as he is manhandled out of his vehicle and placed in handcuffs.
An initial statement released by the Minneapolis Police Department on Tuesday did not include details of officers’ altercation with Floyd and only mentioned he had suffered ‘medical distress’ following the arrest.