A former club owner in Minneapolis says that both George Floyd and the police officer seen kneeling on his neck moments before he died in custody on Monday both worked security at her business until the end of last year.
Floyd and Derek Chauvin, the officer who was fired from the Minneapolis Police Department after video emerged of the moments leading up to Floyd’s death, were employed by the El Nuevo Rodeo club, according to the owner.
‘Chauvin was our off-duty police for almost the entirety of the 17 years that we were open,’ Maya Santamaria told KSTP-TV.
Santamaria said that she is not sure if the two men knew each other since there were some two dozen security guards, including off-duty officers, working at her club on any given night.
But she revealed there were occasions when they would have been working at the same event.
‘They were working together at the same time, it's just that Chauvin worked outside and the security guards were inside.’
Both George Floyd (left), the African American man who died in police custody in Minneapolis on Monday, and Derek Chauvin (right), the officer filmed kneeling on Floyd's neck as he struggled to breathe, worked as security guards in a local club, according to the ex-owner
Maya Santamaria (above) said Chauvin worked as an off-duty police officer for 17 years
Santamaria was the owner of the El Nuevo Rodeo, a club in Minneapolis just a few blocks from the 3rd precinct
According to Santamaria, Chauvin had a tendency to flash his temper and overreact to situations.
'He sometimes had a real short fuse and he seemed afraid,' she said.
'When there was an altercation he always resorted to pulling out his mace and pepper spraying everybody right away, even if I felt it was unwarranted.'
Santamaria wondered if Monday's incident could have turned out differently if Chauvin recognized Floyd from their days working at her club.
‘What if he could’ve just said “Hey, man, you and I worked together at Maya’s place. Remember me?”’ she said.
Floyd moved to Minneapolis from Houston sometime around 2014, according to the Chicago Tribune. He moved up north after spending five years in prison for his part in a home invasion.
He had also worked as a bouncer for a nearby restaurant, the Conga Latin Bistro.
Neither Chauvin’s attorney or the Minneapolis Police Department could be reached for comment.
Santamaria said that she did not initially recognize either of the men in the now-infamous video showing Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck.
Santamaria said that she is not sure if the two men knew each other since there were some two dozen security guards, including off-duty officers, working at her club on any given night. She said that she did not recognize either of the men in the now-infamous video showing Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck
‘My friend sent me (the video) and said this (Chauvin) is your guy who used to work for you and I said, “It's not him.”
‘And then they did the closeup and that's when I said, “Oh my God, that's him”,’ Santamaria said.
‘I didn't recognize George as one of our security guys because he looked really different lying there like that.’
The club which Santamaria owned for some two decades was sold recently.
She still owns and operates a radio station, 95.7FM La Raza, which is located in the same building.
The building, which is without power due to ongoing protests, is just two blocks east of the Minneapolis Police Department’s Third Precinct, which was set on fire by rioters as officers fled the building in their squad cars.
Several businesses in the area have also been affected, as glass doors and windows have been shattered. Many of the buildings are now covered in graffiti.
‘All of the neighborhood has come out to volunteer and clean up and lend a hand,’ Santamaria said.
Donald Trump threatens to take control of Minneapolis amid warning police station stormed by rioters could EXPLODE after gas lines are cut as George Floyd protests spread across the U.S.
President Donald Trump has threatened to take control of Minneapolis as city officials warned that a police station which was stormed by rioters and set alight could now explode during the third night of violence in the city as protests over George Floyd's death spread across America.
The president blasted protesters as 'THUGS' and laid into 'weak' Mayor Jacob Frey as he pledged to 'send in the National Guard and get the job done right' if he fails to tackle the escalating violence that is destroying the city.
Minneapolis, Minnesota: Flames billowed out of the Minneapolis Third Police Precinct Thursday night after rioters stormed it
Minneapolis, Minnesota: The police building is engulfed in flames as rioters took over the building and set it alight
Minneapolis, Minnesota: A mob descended upon Minneapolis Third Precinct, smashing windows before setting the building on fire during the second night of violent protests
Minneapolis, Minnesota: People gather outside the police department building with their fists in the air as they watched it burn down
Minneapolis, Minnesota: Protesters take over the Minneapolis police 3rd Precinct building Thursday
Minneapolis, Minnesota: Minneapolis city officials are urging protesters and residents to flee the scene of the Third Police Precinct
Minneapolis, Minnesota: Gas lines have been cut and 'other explosive materials are in the building’, sparking fears the building could explode
Minneapolis, Minnesota: Protesters were seen smashing the windows and doors as they broke into the police precinct at around 10p.m. local time
Minneapolis, Minnesota: Protesters stand in front of the burning precinct after officers fled the scene
Minneapolis, Minnesota: Shocking footage showed flames billowing out of the Minneapolis Third Police Precinct Thursday night after rioters broke into the building and torched it
Minneapolis, Minnesota: Cops have been forced to flee from the burning Minneapolis police precinct (above) as rioters stormed the building and set it alight during the third night of violence in the city as protests over George Floyd's death spread across America
Cops were forced to flee from the burning Minneapolis Third Police Precinct Thursday night when rioters broke into the building and torched it.
Shocking footage showed flames billowing out of the Minneapolis Third Police Precinct Thursday night just hours after prosecutors warned Thursday there is 'evidence that does not support criminal charges' in the case of four cops accused of killing Floyd, sparking fears that the police officers will continue to walk free.
A total of 500 National Guard soldiers were deployed to the streets of Minneapolis Thursday night and Mayor Jacob Frey declared a state of emergency due to civil disturbances as fires broke out again across the city.
Break-off protests over Floyd's death are building across different states, with disturbing footage showing the driver of a black SUV appear to deliberately mow down a Black Lives Matter protester in Denver - where panic also erupted when shots were fired during the march at the Colorado State Capitol.
In New York, NYPD officers were seen brawling on the ground with protesters as at least 70 people were arrested in the Big Apple.
Over in Kentucky, gunfire rung out in downtown Louisville during a protest demanding justice for black woman Breonna Taylor who was shot dead by cops back in March.
Meanwhile, protesters in Ohio smashed the windows of the statehouse in downtown Columbus and raided the building.
Denver, Colorado: Shocking footage has emerged showing a driver appear to deliberately mow down a demonstrator in Denver as rioting breaks out for the third night in Minneapolis
Denver, Colorado: The car veers toward him before speeding up and hitting the man. The man gets to his feet as the car drives off chased by protesters.
Minneapolis city officials are urging protesters and residents to flee the scene of the Third Police Precinct as gas lines have been cut and 'other explosive materials are in the building’, sparking fears the building could explode.
Protesters broke into the police precinct at around 10p.m. local time, smashing up windows and setting fires inside.
Minneapolis Police released a statement saying that officers had fled the scene: 'In the interest of the safety of our personnel, the Minneapolis Police Department evacuated the 3rd Precinct of its staff. Protesters forcibly entered the building and have ignited several fires.'
As law enforcement buckled under the strain of the escalating civil unrest, the Minnesota National Guard announced that around 500 soldiers are heading to Minneapolis and nearby St. Paul which has also fallen foul of rioting and looting.
Carnage spread across the US Thursday night in the wake of Floyd's death as the public grow increasingly frustrated that still no arrests have been made.
Minnesota Governor Tim Walz activated the National Guard to Minneapolis and state troopers were called in as the city was rocked by another night of violence.
Minneapolis Mayor Frey called for a declaration of local emergency as the city requested assistance from the state in 'restoring safety and calm due to the civil disturbance'.
The emergency declaration will stay in place for 72 hours and allows officials to deploy emergency regulations with immediate effect.
Officials desperately called for the presence of authorities to be ramped up as protesters came out for a third day Thursday in what has been escalating levels of violence and chaos across the city.
Footage showed the Target store being the location for much of the rioting for another day as rioters were seen hurling the retailer's shopping karts at a police cruiser in the store parking lot.
Minneapolis, Minnesota: A car was torched in the third day of riots over Floyd's death
Minneapolis, Minnesota: There were scenes of destruction in the city Thursday night as Floyd's death sparked outrage
Minneapolis, Minnesota: A man throws a mannequin onto a burning car in the parking lot of a Target store
Minneapolis, Minnesota: A police officer stands in a cloud of tear gas during the protest
Minneapolis, Minnesota: Fires broke out again in stores and cars across the city
As night fell, a man was pictured throwing a mannequin onto a burning car in the parking lot as smoke filled the city.
Police in riot gear hit out at protesters again with tear gas sprayed into the crowds.
In the nearby St. Paul's region of Minnesota, rioters threw rocks and stones at a cop car and it was left smashed up with a tree branch ripping through the windows.
Protests ramped up across the nation Thursday as anger grows that four days on from Floyd's death no arrests have been made.
In Denver, what started as a peaceful march calling for justice over Floyd's death descended into chaos as shots were fired and the driver of a black SUV appeared to deliberately run over a Black Lives Matter protester.
Footage on social media showed the car making its way through a group of protesters in the road.
As the vehicle gets through the crowd one protester is seen on the hood, before jumping off.
New York City, New York: A protester is detained by police during a rally against the death of Minneapolis man George Floyd
New York City, New York: Things turned ugly in Union Square in the Big Apple with scenes of NYPD officers and protesters clashing
New York City, New York: A woman is one of around 70 people arrested by police officers in Manhattan
New York City, New York: Officers pin a protester to the floor at the Black Lives matter protest Thursday
New York City, New York: NYPD officers wear masks at the protest in Manhattan
New York City, New York: NYPD officers were later seen brawling on the ground with protesters and at least 30 people were arrested in the Big Apple
The man is then walking away as the car changes direction before it veers toward him and accelerates, in what appears to be an intentional move to hit the man.
Onlookers are heard screaming 'watch out' as the shocked protester tumbles to the floor.
The man gets to his feet as the car drives off chased by protesters.
This came as police were called to respond to the rally at the state Capitol after witnesses reported six or seven shots had been fired.
Terrified demonstrators were pictured huddled down on the ground fearing there was an active shooter at the event as armed officers ran past.
Denver police said there were no reports of any injuries and no one had been taken into police custody.
Several hundred people had gathered at the state Capitol before marching down Lincoln Street and Broadway where they blocked traffic.
Things turned ugly in the Big Apple as protesters and NYPD officers clashed in Manhattan, New York City.
More than 70 people were arrested when the demonstration in Union Square descended into violence.
The NYPD said several cops had been attacked by demonstrators, according to Newsweek.
One officer was reportedly hit with a garbage can that was hurled at them by a demonstrator while several protesters allegedly spat on the cops.
New York City, New York: The NYPD said several cops had been attacked by demonstrators, according to Newsweek
New York City, New York: One officer was reportedly hit with a garbage can that was hurled at them by a demonstrator while several protesters allegedly spat on the cops
New York City, New York: A demonstrator is pinned to the floor by officers as things turned violent
New York City, New York: Police and a protester tackle each other in the streets of Manhattan
New York City, New York: People held aloft banners reading 'Black Lives Matter' and 'Stop Killing Black People' while they followed the state's coronavirus rules to wear face masks
New York City, New York: Cops said one of the protestors was arrested for brandishing a knife while another tried to take a police officer's gun from their holster
New York City, New York: Protesters also accused police of violence towards them, with reports that one officer but his knee on a protester's neck - the same restraint that ultimately led to Floyd's death Monday
New York City, New York: A sign reads 'No justice, no peace. All black lives matter'
Police said one of the protestors was arrested for brandishing a knife while another tried to take a police officer's gun from their holster.
'We have over 40 people that are arrested right now in regards to this ongoing demonstration,' an NYPD spokesperson told Newsweek.
'We have multiple officers that have been attacked. We have one officer that was hit with a garbage can and we have another officer who was punched in his face.'
Protesters also accused police of violence towards them, with the Gothamist reporting allegations that one officer but his knee on a protester's neck - the same restraint that ultimately led to Floyd's death Monday.
Many demonstrators held aloft banners reading 'Black Lives Matter' and 'Stop Killing Black People' while they followed the state's coronavirus rules to wear face masks.
Over in Columbus, Ohio, scenes of a calm protest also turned to violence as some protesters hurled rocks at cops while officers sprayed tear gas into crowds.
Several people smashed the windows of the statehouse in downtown Columbus and entered the building.
Meanwhile, protests started in Kentucky demanding justice for black woman Breonna Taylor who was shot dead by cops back in March.
Gunfire rung out in downtown Louisville and protesters got into a standoff with cops, while Taylor's sister pleaded with protesters in an emotional social media video to 'go home'.
EMT Taylor was shot at least eight times when three cops stormed her apartment to serve a search warrant over a narcotics investigation.
As chaos ensued across America over the black man's death in police custody, Floyd's family issued a plea for protests to be peaceful Thursday night.
'I don't want them to lash out like that, but I can't stop people right now because they have pain. They have the same pain that I feel,' George Floyd's brother, Philonise Floyd, told CNN Thursday.
Denver, Colorado: A woman takes cover on the ground as shots are heard at the protest Thursday
Denver, Colorado: People protect each other over fears that an active shooter is at the scene
Denver, Colorado: Officers run to the scene after shots are heard during the rally
Denver, Colorado: Police officers tell people to take cover and get to ground at the scene
Denver, Colorado: What started as a peaceful march calling for justice over Floyd's death descended into chaos as shots were fired
Denver, Colorado: A motorist holds their fist out of the sunroof of their vehicle as cars were stopped by protesters
Denver, Colorado: Cops rushed to the scene of the protest at the state Capitol Thursday evening after witnesses reported six or seven shots had been fired at about 5:30 p.m. local time.
Denver, Colorado: Denver police said there were no reports of any injuries and no one had been taken into police custody
Denver, Colorado: Several hundred people had gathered at the state Capitol before marching down Lincoln Street and Broadway where they blocked traffic
Denver, Colorado: People carry placards as they march during a protest outside the State Capitol
'I want everything to be peaceful, but I can't make everybody be peaceful. I can't. It's hard.'
The family's lawyer Benjamin Crump issued a statement saying Floyd's family 'want peace' and urged people not to 'sink to the level of our oppressors'.
'I spoke with George Floyd's family this morning and they would like to thank all of the protesters for joining them in standing for JUSTICE. They know we're all hurting,' Crump said.
'They told me they want peace in Minneapolis, but they know that Black people want peace in their souls and that until we get #JusticeForFloyd there will be no peace.'
'We also cannot sink to the level of our oppressors and we cannot endanger each other as we respond to the necessary urge to raise our voices in unison and in outrage,' he added. 'Looting and violence distract from the strength of our collective voice.'
Their cries for calm came after Wednesday's protest escalated into violence with riots breaking out across the city and one looter killed.
Cops and protesters clashed and stores including Target, AutoZone and Walmart were ransacked and set on fire by looters.
A suspected looter was shot dead outside the Cadillac Pawn shop and the suspected shooter had been taken into custody Wednesday night.