Prosecutors on Wednesday showed surveillance footage of George Floyd laughing and chatting in the Cup Foods convenience store moments before his death in May, providing a glimpse of his actions inside the store for the first time.
The footage was played as Christopher Martin, 19, a clerk at Cup Foods, testified about discovering the fake $20 bill that he said Mr. Floyd used to buy cigarettes inside the store. It was a clerk’s call to 911 over the bill that brought several police officers to the area, where they handcuffed Mr. Floyd and pinned him to the ground outside, and where Derek Chauvin, who is now on trial for murder in Mr. Floyd’s death, was recorded kneeling on Mr. Floyd’s neck.
In the surveillance footage, Mr. Floyd can be seen laughing with employees and shoppers as he moves around the store, at one point holding a banana and at another point pulling out what appears to be some cash. The video was taken about 45 minutes before he was taken away on a stretcher and less than two hours before he was pronounced dead at a hospital.
Mr. Martin testified on Wednesday that he had spoken briefly about sports with Mr. Floyd when he entered the store and that Mr. Floyd had appeared to be on a drug of some kind.
“It kind of took him a little long to get to what he was trying to say, so it would appear that he was high,” Mr. Martin said.
After selling Mr. Floyd some cigarettes, Mr. Martin said he realized that Mr. Floyd had given him a bill with some “blue pigment” on it that made him think it was counterfeit. At the time, Mr. Martin said, the store had a policy that clerks who accepted a fake bill had to pay to replace it themselves. He asked a manager what to do and a manager told him to go to Mr. Floyd, who was sitting outside in a car, and ask him to come inside, which Mr. Martin said he tried to do twice.
In the wake of Mr. Floyd’s death, Cup Food’s owners temporarily closed the store and said they had changed their policies about when employees should call the police. They also received plenty of criticism.
“People were saying we were responsible for his death, that we had blood on our hands, that we’re the reason he died,” Mahmoud Abumayyaleh, an owner of the market, said last summer.
For more than 30 years, Cup Foods had been a neighborhood mainstay but also a source of complaints at the corner of Chicago Avenue and 38th Street. Customers could buy cigarettes, fresh produce and minutes for their cellphones, but some residents also complained about drug deals and violence nearby. Even as the neighborhood began to gentrify and barbershops and clothing stores closed as a cafe and art spaces moved in, Cup Foods — the name originally stood for “Chicago Unbeatable Prices” — did not budge.