At the Minneapolis nightclub where George Floyd and off-duty cop Derek Chauvin both worked security, the white policeman used “overkill” tactics to subdue rowdy customers, especially on nights when the clientele were mostly black, according to the former owner. Maya Santamaria, who owned El Nuevo Rodeo, told the Associated Press, “He would mace everyone instead of apprehending the people who were fighting. He would call backup. The next thing you would know, there would five or six squad cars.” Santamaria said she didn’t think the two men knew each other despite their shifts overlapping.
Chauvin is charged with third-degree murder for kneeling on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes while detaining him. The officer was fired on Tuesday, and video of his actions has sparked days of tense and violent protests . “I told him I thought this is unnecessary to be pepper-sprayed. The knee-jerk reaction of being afraid, it seemed overkill,” Santamaria said. “It was a concern and I did voice my opinion, but police officers have a way of justifying what they do.”