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"We feel horrible." The shop that called 911 on George Floyd explain what happened.

At 8.01pm on May 25, a 17-year-old employee of Cup Foods, a street store in Minneapolis, called the local police on a man named George Floyd.

On the phone to 911, the employee accused the 46-year-old man of buying cigarettes with a fake $20 bill.

A transcript of the police call, obtained by The New York Times, shows the dispatcher specifically asked the caller if the man was “white, black, Native, Hispanic, Asian?”

“Something like that,” the teenage employee replied.

“Which one? White, black, Native, Hispanic, Asian?” the dispatcher pressed.

“No, he’s a black guy.”

Upon arriving at the scene, police officer Derek Chauvin – one of four who showed up – arrested Floyd, before holding him down with a knee on his neck for almost nine minutes, as Floyd pleaded: “I can’t breathe.”

Floyd died and Derek Chauvin has since been charged with second-degree murder.

who called the police on george floyd
What Cup Foods looks like now, following the murder of George Floyd. Image: Getty.

The employee who made that first call witnessed the killing, and called his boss, Mahmoud Abumayyaleh, in panic.

"They’re killing him, the guy, they’re killing him," Abumayyaleh recalled the teenager telling him over the phone, in an interview with The Cut.

Abumayyaleh told his employee to "call the police on the police". Later, he learned the identity of the customer of the family-owned business. Abumayyaleh knew George Floyd, sharing he was a regular customer of Cup Foods, and was like a "big teddy bear".

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In a Facebook post following Floyd's death, Abumayyaleh condemned what happened outside the store, and explained why the call for the non-violent crime was made in the first place.

Dr Michael Baden George Floyd autopsy
George Floyd died on May 25.

"There is a state policy that requires stores to call the police in the case of counterfeit bills," he explained. "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."

When the four police arrived on scene, they turned a non-violent situation into a horrific murder.

"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."

The owner added: "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."

As for the night of Floyd's passing, Abumayyaleh wishes he was there.

"If I would have been here the authorities would not have been called," he told The Cut. "George Floyd may still be alive...

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"We are deeply saddened for our part of this tragedy," Abumayyaleh wrote on Facebook.

The killing of George Floyd has sparked unrest across America with protests in all 50 states, and has now spread around the globe, as the world responds to the injustice black citizens systematically experience at the hands of authorities.

Cup Foods has remained closed since the killing. The store is covered in a mural of Floyd, and since May 25 people have left flowers there in memory of him.

who called the police on george floyd
Thousands of people, including hundreds of clergy, pack the street outside Cup Foods in South Minneapolis to pay their respect to George Floyd who lost his life at the hands of Minneapolis Police. Image: Getty.

If you have the means to do so, you can actively help the Black Lives Matter cause in Australia and the United States by donating to organisations working towards racial justice, such as the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women’s Alliance and the Justice for David Dungay Fund to support the family of David Dungay Junior, an Aboriginal man who died in a Sydney jail. You can also donate to the Black Lives Matter Global Network here. If you can, consider regularly donating to Indigenous-run organisations and First Nations causes.

Other active ways to help include signing petitions, attending peaceful protests, listening to BIPOC, raising their voices, educating yourself on racism and privilege and ensuring we are all taking part in the conversation to dismantle systemic racism.


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