A memorial of George Floyd in front of Cup Foods, a store on the corner of 38th Street and Chicago Avenue
owned by Mahmoud Abumayyaleh, better known in the neighborhood as Mike. The
Abumayyalehs have owned and operated Cup Foods for 30 years.
by Jack Wright
In Minneapolis, it is mandatory for businesses to call the police when they receive counterfeit money. On the 25th of May 2020, George Perry Floyd allegedly passed a counterfeit $20 bill to buy cigarettes at Cup Foods. Per the rule, the store called the police, leading to the Floyd’s arrest. And death.
At the writing of this report, it is not known whether the police department has checked out the veracity of the allegation.
Minneapolis Police officers Thomas K. Lane and J. Alexander Kueng were the first on the scene and arrested Floyd. Officers Derek Michael Chauvin and Tou Thao arrived some ten minutes later (this would be sometime around 8:17 PM). Kueng held Floyd’s back, Lane his legs, and Thao looked on. While he stood by, Thao forcibly prevented the intervention of an onlooker. Chauvin knelt on the right side of Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds: He kept on kneeling even after Floyd had become inert.
At approximately 8:22 PM, the officers called for an ambulance. At 8:25 Floyd appeared unconscious. Two minutes later the Hennepin County ambulance arrived. Chauvin was told to remove his knee off Floyd’s neck. Two fire department medics who boarded the ambulance described Floyd in their report as an “unresponsive, pulseless male.” At 9:25 PM on the 26th of May 2020, Floyd was pronounced dead at the emergency room of the Hennepin County Medical Center emergency room.
While the two autopsy reports are at variance with each other in some respects, both conclude that Floyd’s death was a homicide. The official report, issued by the Hennepin County Medical Examiner, states that Floyd died from “cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint and neck compression.” Moreover, this report notes that Floyds suffered from significant conditions such as “arteriosclerotic and hypertensive heart disease; fentanyl intoxication; and recent methamphetamine use” contributed to his death.
The Floyd family commissioned a private, independent autopsy which found that “neck and back compression . . . led to a lack of blood flow to the brain” and that “weight on the back, handcuffs and positioning were contributory factors [to the death] because they impaired the ability of Mr. Floyd’s diaphragm to function.”
The “evidence is consistent with mechanical asphyxia,” according to the private autopsy.
All four police officers have been fired. Chauvin is now charged with second-degree murder and the other three with aiding and abetting second-degree murder.
Forty-six year old “Big Floyd” was born in North Carolina. Years ago, after being released from prison, he moved to Minneapols to look for work, says friend Christopher Harris. He was the father to six-year-old Gianna who lives in Houston with her mother, Roxie Washington. Washington has good words for Floyd as a father. He will be buried on 9 June 2020 in Houston, Texas where he was raised.
STATEMENT FROM CUP FOODS ON GEORGE FLOD
Cup Foods would like to extend its deepest condolences to George Floyd’s family, friends and the South Minneapolis community that we know and love. We are deeply saddened and outraged by what happened to George Floyd in front of our store. There is no justification for the use of reckless force displayed by the police that murdered George Floyd. We support this protest and share in their anger.
The incidents that led up to this event teach us all an important lesson about dealing with police. There is a state policy that requires stores to call the police in the case of counterfeit bills. As a check-cashing business, this is a routine practice for us: we report forged money, then the police come and ask patrons about the bill to trace its origin. Upon receiving a counterfeit bill from George Floyd, one of our employees called the police in accordance with this procedure. The owner of Cup Foods, Mahmoud Abumayyaleh, was not present in the store at the time.
Four officers showed up to the scene, and they proceeded to escalate the situation with increased use of violence and force. The nephew of the store owner, who was also present at the time, was yelling for the police officers to stop, and was pushed away by one of the cops. Sadly, we all know the rest of the story. Despite the fact that George never resisted arrest, police proceeded to end George Floyd’s life over a counterfeit bill. It’s likely that George did not even know that he had a fake bill to begin with. We are deeply saddened for our part of this tragedy.
We have been a cornerstone and pillar of this community for three generations of our family and for 31 years have proudly served our neighborhood. Since George’s untimely passing, Cup Foods has been in regular contact with Floyd’s family who flew in from Houston. We are joining each other in prayer and solidarity, standing together to demand accountability from the cops. We will also personally be donating to pay for George Floyd’s memorial service.
Police are supposed to protect and serve their communities; instead, what we’ve seen over and over again is the police abusing their power and violating the people’s trust. We realize now that escalating situations to the police almost always does more harm than good, even for something as harmless as a fake bill. This is not an isolated incident: they have shown time and time again that they do not know how to peacefully handle conflicts in our community. By simply following procedure we are putting our communities in danger. Until the police stop killing innocent people, we will handle incidents like this one using non-violent tactics that do not involve police. We must stand together to fight against institutional racism.
This is our time to demand justice. Please make your voice heard: call and email the Minneapolis District Attorney’s office to reach Mike Freeman. Join us in donating money to funds such as the Minnesota Freedom Fund, Black Visions Collective, and Reclaim the Block. Work within your communities to find alternatives to policing, until the point that local and state officials decide to seriously hold police accountable once and for all. We will continue fighting with our South Minneapolis community until justice is served, not only for George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor, but for everybody who is affected by police violence in our country.
Floyd family visits Cup Foods. Top photo: Left, Mahmoud Abumayyaleh and his young brother, right.
Comments Mahmoud on Facebook: “Was honored to have the Floyd family come in from Houston and have us meet them and share with them first hand what transpired in the events that lead to the murder of George Floyd.”
Featured image/Lorie Shaull, CC BY-SA2.0 (The mural, located on the corner of 38th Street and Chicago Avenue South in Minneapolis, is the work of artists Xena Goldman, Cadex Herrera, and Greta McLain, wityh the help of Niko Alexander and Pablo Hernande. The mural was finished in 12 hours.)
Chauvin kneeling on Floyd, cropped/Fair Use, via Wikipedia. (Pic was taken by an onlooker with mobile phone.)
Terrence Floyd at George Floyd’s memorial/Lorie Shaull, CC BY-SA2.0
Floyd family visit to Cup Foods/Mahmoud Abumayyaleh Facebook
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