Did George Floyd and Derek Chauvin know each other? Co-worker says they did

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A man who claims to know George Floyd and Derek Chauvin, the now former officer facing second-degree murder charges in Floyd’s death, has told CBS News in an exclusive interview that the two men had a history of not getting along when they worked a security detail at a Minneapolis cantina.

David Pinney, a former co-worker of both men, told CBS News the two men often "bumped heads" while on shift together at the El Nuevo Rodeo restaurant, which converted its dining room to a dance floor at night with live Mexican music.

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“It has a lot to do with Derek being extremely aggressive in the club with some of the patrons, which was an issue,” Pinney said.

It was already known since last month that both men worked at the venue, but before now the connection was believed to be only coincidental, and that the men did not know each other.

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But Floyd’s family has continued to speculate whether the May 25 incident in which Chauvin kneeled on the man’s neck for nearly nine minutes may have stemmed from some prior personal grievance.

Pinney’s revelation that the two men actually knew each other is now adding to those suspicions.

“He knew him,” Pinney told CBS, adding that “we interfaced with the officers” and that Floyd knew Chauvin “pretty well” and would have recognized him on the fateful day of his arrest.

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Maya Santamaria, the owner of the business who first revealed the connection between Floyd and Chauvin, told CBS that she thought Chauvin was “afraid and intimidated” by black people.

Chauvin occasionally worked at the club for 17 years as an off-duty officer, backing up a regular security team inside the venue, where Floyd worked for about a year, Santamaria revealed, although she wasn’t sure if the men ever spoke or met each other.

“They were working together at the same time, it’s just that Chauvin worked outside and the security guards were inside,” she said. “When there was an altercation he always resorted to pulling out his mace pepper spray everybody right away even though I felt it was unwarranted,” she said.

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Civil attorney Ben Crump, who is representing Floyd’s family, previously noted that Chauvin could still face first-degree murder charges if the investigation found the officer knew Floyd.

“That is going to be an interesting aspect to this case and hopefully upgrading these charges to first-degree murder because we believe he knew who George Floyd was,” Crump said.

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The Rodeo restaurant was burned to the ground during the unrest that erupted after Floyd’s death.

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Three other officers were also fired and charged with aiding and abetting murder in Floyd’s death.