The owner of the store where employees called 911 on George Floyd says that in future neither he nor his workers will contact the authorities in similar situations.
“Police are supposed to protect and serve their communities; instead, what we’ve seen over and over again is the police abusing their power and violating the people’s trust. We realize now that escalating situations to the police almost always does more harm than good, even for something as harmless as a fake bill,” Cup Foods in Minneapolis said in a statement.
The 911 call was in accordance with state policy that requires stores to contact the police upon receiving counterfeit bills. Because Cup Foods operates a check-cashing service, they routinely call the police over fake money.
A Cup Foods worker called 911 (pdf) on May 25 just after 8 p.m., telling a dispatcher that a man entered the store and paid with “fake bills.”
Workers asked the man, later identified as Floyd, to give them back the products purchased with the forged money but he refused.
Floyd died after police arrived. An independent autopsy found Floyd died from being deprived of oxygen. The actions of the officers, including one who knelt on the man’s neck, led to Floyd not being able to breathe, the family’s lawyer said.
An official autopsy from a medical examiner concurred that the manner of death was homicide, saying the cause of death was cardiac arrest, complicating law enforcement restraint, and neck compression.
“Decedent experienced a cardiopulmonary arrest while being restrained by law enforcement officer(s),” it stated.
Significant conditions contributing to the death included heart disease, fentanyl intoxication, and recent methamphetamine use.
Mahmoud Abumayyaleh, who owns the store, wasn’t there when the Floyd call took place, the statement said. His nephew was present and yelled for police officers to stop but was “pushed away” by one of them.
The store said that what happened with Floyd wasn’t an isolated incident, adding, “They have shown time and time again that they do not know how to peacefully handle conflicts in our community.”
“By simply following procedure we are putting our communities in danger. Until the police stop killing innocent people, we will handle incidents like this one using non-violent tactics that do not involve police. We must stand together to fight against institutional racism,” the statement said, calling on people to “demand justice” by calling and emailing the Minneapolis District Attorney’s office and donating to groups that say they’re fighting racism.
Derek Chauvin, the officer who knelt on Floyd’s neck, was arrested last week on murder and manslaughter charges. He’s being held in a maximum security prison outside Minneapolis.
He and the three other officers involved with Floyd’s apprehension were fired.
The other officers have not been charged. Some are calling for their arrests and Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo said they were “complicit” in Floyd’s death.