Cup Foods clerk regrets 911 call on George Floyd; Chauvin body cam footage played in third day of trial

By: - April 1, 2021 8:24 am

Charles McMillian, 61, became emotion while testifying about seeing George Floyd die under the knee of Derek Chauvin.

During the third day of testimony in Derek Chauvin’s trial for murder and manslaughter, the jury saw more videos from virtually every angle of the day George Floyd died in south Minneapolis. They heard from the 19-year-old clerk who sold Floyd cigarettes, and an elderly Black man who pleaded with Floyd while he was pinned to the ground to just “get up” and “get in the car” even though Floyd couldn’t.

Some takeaways from Day 3 of testimony.

Cup Foods clerk who took $20 bill from Floyd felt ‘disbelief, guilt’

Christopher Martin, 19, had only worked at Cup Foods for four months the day George Floyd came in and bought cigarettes from him with what he immediately thought was a fake $20 bill.

Prosecutors played store security video that showed Floyd ambling around the store, fiddling in his pockets, even dancing a little jig at one point before buying cigarettes and leaving.

Martin testified Wednesday that Floyd was friendly and talkative but appeared to be “high.”

Rather than reject the $20 bill, he decided to take it, even though he said his boss would dock his pay for accepting counterfeit money (Cup Foods denied this in a statement.)

After Floyd left, he told his manager, who made him and coworkers twice confront Floyd in an SUV outside before another worker called 911.

After police arrived, Martin later went outside and saw police holding Floyd down on the street.

Martin said he felt “disbelief and guilt” as he watched, saying, “If I would have just not taken the bill, this could have been avoided.”

After Floyd’s death, he said he quit Cup Foods because “I didn’t feel safe.”

The man who kept telling Floyd to get up and get in the car

Charles McMillian, 61, was driving near Cup Foods when he saw police standing by Floyd’s SUV and stopped to see what was up.

As officers cuffed Floyd and walked him across the street and eventually pinned him to the ground after a struggle, McMillian repeatedly begged Floyd to just “get up and get in the car” while Floyd kept telling him he couldn’t.

“Basically what I’m saying is you can’t win because once police get the cuffs on you, you can’t win,” McMillian explained.

McMillian testified he’d seen Chauvin around the neighborhood before, including a few days earlier, when he told the officer, “At the end of the day, you go home to your family safe and let the other person go home to their family safe.”

As the prosecution began to play videos of McMillian pleading with Floyd to get up, McMillian broke down on the witness stand, sobbing.

“I can’t, I feel helpless. I don’t have a mother either, I understand him,” McMillian said.

The judge called a break to allow McMillian to compose himself in the hallway, where prosecutors comforted him.

When he returned, prosecutors played footage from Chauvin’s body cam video, taken after Floyd was taken away by ambulance. McMillian confronted Chauvin as he was getting into his squad car, reminding him of what he’d told him a few days earlier.

“I don’t respect what you did,” McMillian told Chauvin.

A day of videos 

Prosecutors showed the jury multiple videos that showed the horrific event from many perspectives. The jurors and the world heard from Chauvin for the first time in video to this point unreleased to the public.

“I gotta control this guy. He’s a sizable guy,” he told McMillian. “He looks like he’s probably on something.”

Prosecutors showed footage from the body-worn cameras of all the officers — J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao. Chauvin’s camera fell off during the struggle with Floyd in the police SUV. His body camera wound up under the SUV until Chauvin put it back on after Floyd’s body was taken away in an ambulance.

Floyd’s youngest brother from Houston, Rodney, was there, and while a video was playing he shook his head from side to side, and at one point glared briefly at Chauvin, according to a pool reporter in the courtroom.

Chauvin sat intently watching almost every second, from when the two rookies arrived until eventually Chauvin showed up, and the whole episode played out on the screen once again. Chauvin takes prolific notes on a yellow legal pad, however, often focusing on that rather than the video being played.

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Deena Winter
Deena Winter

Deena Winter is a freelance journalist who has covered state and local government in four states over the past three decades.