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Former bar owner says George Floyd and fired officer both worked for her at the same time

It is unknown whether the two men knew each other prior to Floyd's encounter with police on Monday just before his death

Image source; KSTP-TV video screenshot

A Minneapolis woman who used to own a club on the south side of the city says George Floyd and Derek Chauvin — the officer who kneeled on Floyd's neck during the detainment prior to his death — both worked for her as security guards at the same time and held overlapping shifts.

What are the details?

Maya Santamaria, who owned El Nuevo Rodeo club for nearly two decades before she sold the bar this year, told KSTP-TV on Thursday that Chauvin had been a longtime employee of hers and that Floyd also worked security in the establishment for roughly a year.

But it is unclear whether Floyd and Chauvin ever met during the time they were employed by Santamaria, who says that while the men undoubtedly worked during the same time, one was stationed outdoors while the other was inside.

"Chauvin was our off-duty police officer for almost the entirety of the 17 years that we were open," the business owner explained. "They were working together at the same time, it's just that Chauvin worked outside and the security guards were inside."

On busy nights, Santamaria noted, there were dozens of guards on staff. She says she doesn't know if the men ever spoke during the time they worked for her.

Santamaria described Chauvin as sometimes having "a real short fuse," and says she wishes the two men could have recognized each other during Floyd's detainment on Monday and possibly de-escalated the situation.

Chauvin was fired along with three other Minneapolis police officers after footage went viral showing Chauvin holding down Floyd with his body weight and pressing his knee into Floyd's neck as the the black man was detained. After several minutes of Floyd and onlookers begging Chauvin to stop blocking Floyd's airway, Floyd became unresponsive. He was later pronounced dead.

No arrests have been made in the case, and protests in Minneapolis and across the country have raged for days — often devolving into violence including attacks on police, vandalism, and looting.


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