A former club owner in south Minneapolis reportedly said that Derek Chauvin, the now-fired police officer, and George Floyd, the man who died in his custody this week, both worked security for her club up until the end of 2019.
Maya Santamaria, the former owner of El Nuevo Rodeo club on Lake Street, claimed that the two men worked on the same nights multiple times. When the video of the tragic death went viral, it shocked her to realize that she employed both Chauvin and Floyd. (RELATED: Amy Klobuchar Previously Declined To Prosecute Officer In George Floyd’s Death Despite Complaints Of Violence)
“Chauvin was our off-duty police for almost the entirety of the 17 years that we were open,” Santamaria said to KSTP, a Minneapolis-based ABC news channel. “They were working together at the same time, it’s just that Chauvin worked outside and the security guards were inside.” She recently sold the venue within the last few months, but had previously owned that club for almost two decades.
Though the two men overlapped shifts according to Santamaria, she couldn’t say for sure that they knew each other personally. El Nuevo Rodeo often employed about two dozen security guards and off duty-police officers.
Santamaria also said that when she first saw the video of Chauvin pinning Floyd to the pavement using his knee on the back of Floyd’s neck, she didn’t immediately recognize them, according to KSTP. When she took a closer look, she realized that it was the same men who worked for her just last year before the club closed down. (RELATED: Officer Who Knelt On George Floyd’s Neck Has History Of Complaints)
“My friend sent me (the video) and said this is your guy who used to work for you and I said, ‘It’s not him,'” Santamaria said, per KSTP. “And then they did the closeup and that’s when I said, ‘Oh my God, that’s him. I didn’t recognize George as one of our security guys because he looked really different lying there like that.”