George Floyd, the man whose death launched a thousand campaigns for racial justice, has been captured in newly surfaced video footage depicting him acting peculiarly in a Minneapolis grocery store in the moments prior to his death.
The Minneapolis convenience store clerk who served Floyd in the moments ahead of his fatal confrontation with police testified that Floyd “appeared to be high” in the ongoing trial of ex-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin on Wednesday.
The newly released video was shown at the trial and depicts the clearly animated Floyd behaving boisterously and even dancing inside of the Cup Foods grocery store with two friends. The store clerk, Christopher Martin, testified that Floyd had difficulty speaking and appeared to be high.
“When you were communicating with him, what was his demeanour like?” Minnesota Assistant Attorney General Matthew Frank asked during the examination, reports the New York Post.
“When I asked him if he played baseball he went on to respond,” Martin replied. “But it kind of took him a little long to get to what he was trying to say. So, it appeared that he was high.”
The footage shows the moment Floyd handed over a counterfeit dollar bill after speaking to the clerk.
“When I saw the bill I noticed that it had a blue pigment to it, kind of like a $100 bill would have,” Martin told the court. “So, I found that odd. I assumed it was fake.”
The footage then shows the clerk confronting Floyd before Floyd left the store and walked out onto Chicago Avenue, where he ultimately died.
Martin told the court that it was store policy to make employees pay for any counterfeits out of their own paycheque, explaining that his manager had told him twice to go outside to confront Floyd and his two companions who were in Floyd’s SUV. Floyd was under the influence of drugs when he attempted to drive away.
The store clerk told the court that one of Floyd’s friends, identified as Maurice Hall, tried to pass off a similar bill earlier in the day but was rejected.
When asked why he accepted Floyd’s bill, Martin said that it was partly because Floyd seemed to be high.
“I thought that George didn’t really know it was a fake bill,” he explained, adding that he felt “disbelief and guilt” after he saw police restraining Floyd. He told the court that his coworker called the authorities on Floyd.
“If I would’ve just not taken the bill this could’ve been avoided,” he said.
Martin told the court that he also shot footage of the arrest on his phone but later deleted it because he did not want to have to answer questions about it.
Former police officer Derek Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter in the case and faces up to 40 years in prison if convicted of all counts. The trial is ongoing.