The owner of Cup Foods, the Minneapolis store where a clerk called 911 on George Floyd, says his business will no longer involve the police in certain incidents until law enforcement stops “killing innocent people.”
On Sunday, Mahmoud Abumayyaleh posted a lengthy note on Facebook to say that he supports the protests over the death of Floyd, a Black man who died after a white officer knelt on his neck outside Cup Foods, and said his store is “deeply saddened for our part of this tragedy.”
“We have been a cornerstone and pillar of this community for three generations of our family and for 31 years have proudly served our neighborhood. Since George’s untimely passing, Cup Foods has been in regular contact with Floyd’s family who flew in from Houston,” Abumayyaleh wrote, adding that his store is “standing together to demand accountability from the cops.”
Abumayyaleh also said that he’ll be “donating to pay for George Floyd’s memorial service” and pledged to change how his store handles “incidents like this one.”
Floyd was killed last week after police arrested him for allegedly using a counterfeit $20 bill at Cup Foods. In a video taken by a bystander, Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin can be seen pressing his knee into Floyd’s neck as Floyd lies on the ground. A criminal complaint released Friday notes that Chauvin had his knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes, three of which were after Floyd was “non-responsive.”
On Monday, an independent autopsy conducted at the request of Floyd’s family concluded his cause of death was “homicide caused by asphyxia due to neck and back compression that led to a lack of blood flow to the brain.” This contradicts the Hennepin County medical examiner’s autopsy, which recorded “no physical findings that support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxia or strangulation” according to the criminal complaint.
Protests have erupted nationwide and beyond since Floyd’s death as people called for Chauvin and fellow officers Thomas Lane, Tou Thao and J. Alexander Kueng ― who were all present during the incident ― to be charged. Chauvin has since been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter, but protests pleading for criminal justice and police brutality reform continue while the other officers remain uncharged.
“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. 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,” Abumayyaleh wrote in his post.
“This is not an isolated incident: they have shown time and time again that they do not know how to peacefully handle conflicts in our community. 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.”
Abumayyaleh promised to “continue fighting with our South Minneapolis community until justice is served” for Floyd, fellow victims of racist violence Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, and “everybody who is affected by police violence in our country.”
In an interview last week, Abumayyaleh shared with TRT World Now what had happened at his store, and called Floyd’s death a “tragedy.” Since then, he’s been vocal about his opposition to how the police treated Floyd, posting his support for Floyd and his family on Facebook.