The owner of the store whose employee called the police on George Floyd for allegedly using a counterfeit $20 bill has vowed not to involve law enforcement in the future. "Police are supposed to protect and serve their communities; instead, what we’ve seen over and over again is the police abusing their power and violating the people’s trust," Mahmoud Abumayyaleh, the owner of Cup Foods, wrote on Facebook.
"We realize now that escalating situations to the police almost always does more harm than good, even for something as harmless as a fake bill," he wrote.
Abumayyaleh wrote that he was not at the store when Floyd came in on the evening of May 25, but that one of his employees followed "a state policy that requires stores to call the police in the case of counterfeit bills."
Floyd may not have even known the bill he was using was allegedly counterfeit, Abumayyaleh wrote, but when the police arrived, they quickly "proceeded to escalate the situation with increased use of violence and force."
A video of the incident shows since-fired Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin placing his knee on Floyd's neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds as Floyd tells officers he can't breathe. Three other officers stand by and watch but do not help Floyd.
During the final two minutes and 53 seconds he was pinned to the ground, Floyd was unresponsive, according to a criminal complaint released by the Hennepin County Attorney's Office.
All four officers on the scene were fired, but only Chauvin has been charged in the killing. Chauvin was charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter. Protesters across the country have been calling for the other three officers on the scene to be charged in Floyd's death, and for Chauvin to be charged with first-degree 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. We are deeply saddened for our part of this tragedy," Abumayyaleh wrote in his Facebook post, adding that he and the other employees of the store support the protesters denouncing Floyd's death.
The tragedy will also change how Cup Foods handles incidents like this one, Abumayyaleh added.
"This is not an isolated incident: [the police] have shown time and time again that they do not know how to peacefully handle conflicts in our community," he wrote. "By simply following procedure we are putting our communities in danger. Until the police stop killing innocent people, we will handle incidents like this one using non-violent tactics that do not involve police. We must stand together to fight against institutional racism."