The cashier who served George Floyd at a Minneapolis store just before his arrest and death last May told a court on Wednesday of “the disbelief and guilt” he felt for allowing Floyd to pay with a suspected fake $ 20 bill when he later saw the police kneel. on him.

The testimony of the third day of the murder trial of former Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin continued amidst an atmosphere of tense emotions and heartbreaking evidence about Floyd’s death.

The cashier, Christopher Martin, 19, said Floyd appeared to be drugged but did not threaten and was “very approachable, talkative”.

Martin said he noticed Floyd because “he was a great man” and they had a long conversation about the sport.

He did, however, tell the Minneapolis court that he had noticed The 46-year-old black man’s speech was laborious.

“It looked like he was high,” he said.

Martin worked at Cup Foods in southern Minneapolis, where Floyd allegedly attempted to buy cigarettes with a fake $ 20 bill, which led to his detention by Chauvin, who was later fired from his job and arrested.

Chauvin, 45, who is white, has denied charges of second and third degree murder and manslaughter, after pressing his knee against Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes on May 25, 2020, the public holiday of Memorial Day.

He faces up to 40 years in prison if convicted of the most serious charge.

Floyd’s official autopsy showed he had opioids and methamphetamine in his system when he died.

Chauvin’s defense argues that the officer’s use of force was reasonable because Floyd was under the influence of drugs at the time of his detention. Eric Nelson, Chauvin’s attorney, also said at the trial that the drugs contributed to Floyd’s death.

The prosecution admits the use of drugs, but said that did not justify Chauvin continuing to press his knee into Floyd’s neck, as the man prone has repeatedly said he cannot breathe and was not the cause of his death.

'It could have been avoided': store cashier testifies in Derek Chauvin trial - video
‘It could have been avoided’: store cashier testifies in Derek Chauvin trial – video

The lawsuit showed a video of Floyd in the store. He can be seen wandering around for several minutes, appearing to stagger at times, before heading to the tobacco counter where Martin was serving. Floyd buys cigarettes and pays with a $ 20 bill.

Martin said he was immediately suspicious of the ticket because it contained an unusual pigment, but still accepted it even though he knew it would be deducted from his salary.

“I thought George didn’t really know it was a bogus bill, so I was doing him a favor,” he says.

But Martin changed his mind and showed the note to a manager who said to go after Floyd and bring him back to the store.

Throughout the video, Floyd does not appear threatening. Although there is no audio, he sometimes seems to be joking with other customers.

“He seemed very friendly, approachable, chatty,” Martin said. “But he looked stoned.

The lawsuit was then shown footage of Martin and a coworker approaching Floyd as he sits in his vehicle and telling him he needs to come back to the store and talk to the manager about the counterfeit money.

When Floyd refuses twice, the police are called. Martin returned to work but came back outside after noticing a crowd gathering on the street.

“I saw people screaming and screaming. I saw Derek [Chauvin] with his knee on Floyd’s neck, ”he said. “George was still. Chauvin appeared to be in a state of rest, meaning he was resting his knee on his neck.

Later in the footage, Martin is seen watching the events with his hands on his head. The prosecutor asked what he thought.

“Disbelief and guilt,” he says. “If I just hadn’t taken the [counterfeit] bill, it could have been avoided.

Martin said that shortly after, he quit his job at Cup Foods because he “didn’t feel safe”.

Later on Wednesday, another prosecution witness, Charles MacMillian, told the court he spoke directly to Floyd as he lay in the street below Chauvin’s knee.

“Get up and get in the (police) car. You can’t win the man, ”he told Floyd.

Floyd replies that he can’t get up.

MacMillian, in very moving testimony, said he called on Floyd to cooperate with the police because he was worried about his condition as he pleaded he couldn’t breathe. “I was trying to help him,” he said.

MacMillian collapsed and cried in court as he was shown a video of his interaction with Floyd.

A courtroom sketch shows surveillance footage of George Floyd's store counting money at Cup Foods.
A courtroom sketch shows surveillance footage of George Floyd’s store counting money at Cup Foods. Photograph: Jane Rosenberg / Reuters

Previously, the defense continued to cross-examine Geneviève Hansen, a Minneapolis firefighter who was prevented by police from providing medical assistance to Floyd as he was dying, after falling at the scene while she was n was off duty and saw Chauvin and two other policemen. pinning Floyd down the street.

Hansen admitted that she did not present any ID proving that she was a firefighter with medical training as she implored Chauvin and other police officers to let her treat Floyd because she believed her life was in danger.

Earlier, Nelson had told Hansen that she “was getting louder and more and more frustrated and upset” as Chauvin continued to press her knee into Floyd’s neck.

The firefighter replied that she didn’t get mad until Floyd was already dead “and there was no point in trying to reason with them any more because they had just killed someone.”

When the defense urged Hansen to agree that other people in the crowd were “upset or angry,” Hansen hit back, “I don’t know if you’ve seen someone get killed, but it’s quite upsetting. . “

The prosecution constructs an image of a group of police officers, led by Chauvin, who were indifferent to Floyd’s suffering and the danger he faced during an agonizing period of time and that his detention was not the result of split second decision making. .

A succession of prosecution witnesses told the court that the alarm and anger of passers-by was not a threat to the police, but a demand for action to help Floyd as he pleaded for his life and called his deceased mother with declining advocacy.

The jury saw several videos recorded by people present at the scene in which members of the public can be heard growling at Chauvin for him to get off Floyd’s neck. But the video showed no threat to the officers’ safety.

Three other officers involved in Floyd’s death are set to stand trial together later this year on charges of aiding and abetting murder and manslaughter.

The trial continues.