According to several news reports, both Derek Chauvin and George Floyd were bouncers at the same club for more than a decade

By Steve Helling
May 29, 2020 01:47 PM
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George Floyd

The Minneapolis police officer and the unarmed black man who died in his custody this week both worked as security guards for the same Minneapolis club, according to multiple news reports.

George Floyd and the now-fired police officer Derek Chauvin had overlapping shifts at the El Nuevo Rodeo club, former owner Maya Santamaria told KTSP Eyewitness News. (Chauvin was taken into custody by authorities on Friday.)

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

"They were both bouncers at that restaurant for 17 years," Andrea Jenkins, vice president of Minneapolis City Council, tells MSNBC. "Officer Chauvin knew George. They were coworkers for a very long time."

PEOPLE has been unable to reach Santamaria or the attorney for Chauvin to verify their employment history. It's unclear whether the two men knew each other.

On Tuesday, a video of Floyd being arrested by Minneapolis police officers went viral on social media.

In the video, Chauvin can be seen with his knee firmly placed on the back of Floyd's neck. Floyd was handcuffed and lying on his stomach next to a Minneapolis patrol car.

Three officers held Floyd down, with Chauvin placing his weight on Floyd's neck with his left knee.

Floyd can be heard in the video groaning in pain while bystanders plead with Chauvin to be more gentle. Throughout the nine-minute clip, he repeatedly asks for help. He tells the officers that he cannot breathe and says that "everything hurts." The video continued until Floyd was visibly still.

A report from the Minneapolis Fire Department says that paramedics arrived at the scene and were unable to find Floyd's pulse. He was later pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.

Chauvin and the other three officers present during the incident have since been fired, and Chauvin was taken into custody on Friday. It was unclear what charges he might face.

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The video of the incident was picked up by multiple news outlets, being seen millions of times. In the days since the video's release, thousands of people have staged protests throughout Minneapolis and in other cities, some of which have turned destructive.

On Thursday, rioters set fires inside and around the Minneapolis Police Department's 3rd Precinct building, WCCO reported.

Protests over police brutality also took place in neighboring St. Paul, where police said more than 170 businesses have been "damaged or looted," and about a dozen fires have been set. The New York Times reports lawmakers and employees were evacuated from the State Capitol as a precaution.

Protests have also spread across the country to cities like Denver, Chicago, Los Angeles and New York.

An online petition calling for charges against the officers who were present has received more than 5 million signatures.

The FBI is investigating Floyd's death.