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Did Derek Chauvin Work With George Floyd? Their Relationship Explained

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George Floyd and Derek Chauvin reportedly worked together at a venue in Minneapolis last year, according to a former nightclub owner.

Floyd died while in custody of the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) on May 25 last year after being apprehended on suspicion of passing a counterfeit $20 bill.

His arrest was caught on camera by a bystander, whose video showed Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes, while the other two officers pinned him down.

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In the footage, which went viral and sparked nationwide protests against racism and police brutality, Floyd can be heard pleading with officers saying “I can’t breathe.”

It has now emerged Floyd and Chauvin were colleagues at one stage, with the former working as a bouncer and the latter working as off-duty security guard outside the venue.

“Chauvin was our off-duty police for almost the entirety of the 17 years that we were open,” Maya Santamaria, former owner of El Nuevo Rodeo in south Minneapolis told Minneapolis and St. Paul’s ABC-affiliate KSTP.

While Floyd and Chauvin may have worked together, Santamaria admitted she could not say for certain if the two knew each other as several off-duty officers served as security guards.

“They were working together at the same time, it’s just that Chauvin worked outside and the security guards were inside.”

Santamaria, who sold the venue only months ago, added that when she first saw the video of Chauvin kneeling on Floyd she initially failed to recognize either of her employees.

“I didn’t recognize George as one of our security guys because he looked really different lying there like that.”

Chauvin has denied charges of second- and third-degree murder and is one of four officers who will stand trial in Minneapolis from Monday.

The 45-year-old was fired from the MPD and could face up to 40 years in prison if found guilty of second-degree murder. Eric Nelson, his defense attorney, has not confirmed whether his client will testify.

An autopsy carried out by Dr. Andrew Baker, the Hennepin County Medical Examiner, in June last year concluded Floyd’s death was a homicide.

According to the report, Floyd died of “cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression.”

The findings were markedly different from the initial report, which had found “no physical findings” to “support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxia or strangulation”. The preliminary report also indicated Floyd had used drugs before his arrest and had underlying conditions which contributed to his death.

Earlier this month, the city of Minneapolis agreed to pay $27 million to Floyd’s family to settle a civil lawsuit.

“I hope that today will center the voices of the family and anything that they would like to share,” the city’s council president, Lisa Bender, said in a statement.

“But I do want to, on behalf of the entire city council, offer my deepest condolences to the family of George Floyd, his friends and all of our community who are mourning his loss.”

Ben Crump, the Floyd’s family attorney, said the sum was the largest pre-trial civil rights settlement ever in a wrongful death lawsuit.

“While we will never get our beloved George back, we will continue to work tirelessly to make this world a better, and safer, place for all,” Floyd’s sister, Bridgett Floyd, said.

Demonstrators hold signs honouring George Floyd and other victims of racism as they gather during a protest outside Hennepin County Government Center on March 28 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Opening arguments begin on Monday in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the white police officer accused of killing George Floyd, a Black man whose death was captured on video and touched off protests against racial injustice across the United States and around the world.
Kerem Yucel/AFP/Getty Images

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