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In an interview with The Cut, Mahmoud Abumayyaleh said he received a panicked call from a 17-year-old employee at the store who called the police on Floyd after they believed he used a fake $20 bill. "They're killing him," he was told when he answered the phone. Officer Derek Chauvin, one of the four officers involved in the murder, knelt on Floyd's neck for eight minutes. "I can't breathe," Floyd said in the widely circulated video that captured his death to police brutality.
"We don't condone the Minneapolis police," Abumayyaleh stressed. "We don't condone violence and we don't condone abuse of power."
Abumayyaleh explained that he was familiar with Floyd, who he called a "big teddy bear." He would come by Cup Foods a number of times in a week to pay the bill for his cell phone, and he always got along with him. He revealed that it's standard protocol for a business to report counterfeit money to police, but since he knows most of his customers he doesn't try to involve officers. "If I would have been here the authorities would not have been called," he explained. "George Floyd may still be alive." Following Floyd's death, he said the police won't be called to his store ever again.
"Black people in urban communities are targeted. This is a step towards fixing the issue," he said. This isn't Abumayyaleh's first statement on Floyd, as he wrote an emotional post on Facebook this past Sunday expressing his support for protesters. For the time being, Cup Foods is closed, and a mural of Floyd sits on the wall outside.
"Until the police stop killing innocent people, we will handle incidents like this one using non-violent tactics that do not involve police," he wrote. In fact, Abumayyaleh has advised all of his staff to avoid calling the police unless there's a severe incident. "We can't let more black men or brown men in our community become George Floyd," he continued. "What took place outside of our establishment was a tragedy. We feel horrible. George Floyd didn't deserve to die."