George Floyd and the Minnesota police officer filmed kneeling on his neck before his death worked at the same nightclub for most of last year, according to reports.
Maya Santamaria, the former owner of El Nuevo Rodeo in Minneapolis, told KSTP that Floyd, 46, and Minnesota police officer Derek Chauvin, 46, worked shifts at her club up until the end of last year. While Santamaria said Floyd and Chauvin worked overlapping security shifts on popular music nights, she couldn’t confirm that the men knew each other.
KSTP reports that Santamaria owned El Nuevo Rodeo for nearly 20 years but sold the venue within the last couple of months. She said Chauvin was their off-duty police officer for 17 years.
“They were working together at the same time, it’s just that Chauvin worked outside and the security guards were inside,” she explained.
Santamaria said a friend sent her the video of Chauvin arresting Floyd but she initially didn’t recognize either man.
“And then they did the closeup and that’s when I said, ‘Oh my God, that’s him’. I didn’t recognize George as one of our security guys because he looked really different lying there like that,” she recalled to KTSP.
Floyd died Monday after four Minneapolis police officers arrested him for allegedly attempting to use forged documents at Cup Foods. Video posted to social media reportedly showed Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck for almost eight minutes as he repeatedly says he can’t breathe. Floyd was filmed losing consciousness before his death.
Officials identified the other three officers involved in Floyd’s arrest as Thomas Lane, Tou Thao, and J. Alexander Kueng. All four officers have since been fired.
The FBI and the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) are investigating Floyd’s arrest.
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[Featured image: George Floyd/Facebook; Facebook video screengrab;]