George Floyd, Derek Chauvin Had Tense Encounters While Working at Same Nightclub: Former Coworker

June 10, 2020 Updated: June 11, 2020

Update: The coworker retracted his claim that Floyd and Chauvin “bumped heads.”

Original article is below.

George Floyd and the police officer who knelt on his neck for around 9 minutes before he died “bumped heads” while working at the same nightclub, according to a former coworker.

Floyd, 46, and Derek Chauvin, 44, the officer who was fired after Floyd died, worked together at the El Nuevo Rodeo club in Minneapolis.

David Pinney, a former coworker, told CBS that tension between the pair “has a lot to do with Derek being extremely aggressive within the club with some of the patrons, which was an issue.”

“They bumped heads,” Pinney said, adding that there was no doubt the men knew each other. Asked how well, Pinney responded, “I would say pretty well.”

Maria Santamaria, who owned the club for nearly two decades before selling it earlier this year, confirmed last month that Floyd and Chauvin worked together.

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Flowers and messages are placed at the memorial for George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minn. on June 9, 2020. (Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

Chauvin worked as an off-duty security guard outside the club for the better part of 17 years, Santamaria told podcast host Jess Fields. Floyd worked for about a year as a part-time security guard inside the building.

The former club owner said she couldn’t say whether the men knew each other, noting there was “little overlap” between the guards inside and those working outside.

“I want to make sure that it’s clear that I in no uncertain terms want to imply that these two knew each other or had a working relationship, or, on the contrary, that they had a beef. Because I don’t think that would be a fair representation,” Santamaria said.

“They probably crossed paths on their way to my office to get paid at some point but that doesn’t mean that they knew each other,” she added later.

After Pinney came forward, Benjamin Crump, an attorney representing Floyd’s family, said that the former coworker’s remarks indicated Floyd and Chauvin “had issues.”

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George Floyd’s son, Quincy Mason Floyd (second from left) and family attorney Ben Crump (L) and other family members visit the site where George Floyd died in Minneapolis, Minn., on June 3, 2020.  (Kerem Yucel/AFP via Getty Images)

“It may be proven that he ABUSED his power, took advantage of the situation, and MURDERED George, knowing who he was,” Crump added in a statement.

If Chauvin targeted Floyd with malice then the charge against him should be elevated to first-degree murder, the lawyer argued. The former officer, who was fired on May 26, the day after Floyd died, has also been charged with third-degree manslaughter.

Chauvin appeared in court on June 8 and saw his bail raised by $250,000 to $1.25 million without conditions.

Another option was $1 million bail with conditions, including a prohibition on contact with Floyd’s family and the surrendering of any licenses or permits for firearms.

The three other men involved in Floyd’s arrest appeared in court last week. They were fired from the Minneapolis Police Department on the same day as Chauvin.

Democratic Attorney General Keith Ellison, who is leading the investigation into Floyd’s death, charged J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane, and Tou Thao with aiding and abetting murder. If convicted, they face up to 40 years in prison.

Two of the officers had just begun working full-time after a probationary period on the force, their lawyers said.

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