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Teen Who Told Manager About George Floyd’s Fake $20 Bill Says He Felt Guilty

by : Emily Brown on : 01 Apr 2021 10:12
Teen Who Told Manager About George Floyd's Fake $20 Bill Says He Felt GuiltyPA Images

The convenience store employee who reported George Floyd’s fake $20 bill to his manager has recalled feeling ‘disbelief and guilt’ as he watched Floyd’s arrest unfold. 

Christopher Martin, 19, worked as a cashier at the Cup Foods store Floyd visited before he was arrested and killed last May. Martin recounted the events while giving testimony at former police officer Derek Chauvin’s murder trial yesterday, March 31.

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Floyd is alleged to have gone into the south Minneapolis shop to buy cigarettes with a counterfeit bill, and while Martin said he appeared to be on drugs at the time, he said Floyd was ‘very approachable [and] talkative’.

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Describing Floyd as a ‘big man’, Martin said the two had a long conversation about sport and that he noticed Floyd’s speech was laboured, saying: ‘It would appear that he was high.’

Footage taken from Floyd’s visit to the shop shows him making his way to the tobacco counter and paying with a $20 note. Martin said he was immediately suspicious of the note because it had an unusual pigment, The Guardian reports.

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He accepted it anyway and expected the money to be deducted from his pay, saying: ‘I thought George didn’t really know it was a fake bill so I was doing him a favour.’

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A few moments later the teen ‘second-guessed’ himself and decided to show the note to his manager, who asked him to bring Floyd back into the store. Martin and a co-worker approached Floyd in his vehicle and told him he needed to return to speak to the manager.

Floyd refused and Martin told the court that he offered to pay for the fake bill himself, however his manager refused and ordered him to speak to Floyd again. When he refused a second time, the police were called to the scene.

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The teen then went back to work, but when he noticed a crowd gathering on the street he went outside to see what was going on.

Recalling the harrowing events, he said: ‘I saw people yelling and screaming. I saw Derek [Chauvin] with his knee on Floyd’s neck. George was motionless. Chauvin seemed like he was in a resting state, meaning he was resting his knee on his neck.’

Hennepin County Sheriff's OfficeHennepin County Sheriff's Office

Footage showed Martin watching the events with his hands on his head. When the prosecutor at the trial asked what he was thinking, he said ‘Disbelief and guilt,’ adding: ‘If I would have just not taken the [counterfeit] bill, this could have been avoided.

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Shortly after Floyd’s death, Martin quit his job at Cup Foods because he ‘did not feel safe’.

Chauvin faces charges of second and third degree murder, and manslaughter after pressing his knee into Floyd’s neck during his arrest, despite Floyd’s pleas and warnings from onlookers that he couldn’t breathe. The former officer has pleaded not guilty to the charges and faces up to 40 years in prison if convicted of the most serious charge.

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Emily Brown

Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.

Topics: News, Black Lives Matter, Derek Chauvin, George Floyd, Minneapolis, Now, Trial