Ex-MPD officers federal trial Day 2: FBI video analysts, Cup Foods clerk testify

Testimony from an FBI video analyst continued on day two of the civil rights trial of three former Minneapolis police officers in federal court in St Paul. A second witness then took the stand in mid-morning: the cashier at Cup Foods who was passed a counterfeit $20 bill from George Floyd.

J. Alexander Kueng, Tou Thao and Thomas Lane are on trial in St. Paul’s federal courthouse on charges they violated George Floyd’s constitutional rights when he was murdered by fellow former officer Derek Chauvin on May 25, 2020.

Chauvin was found guilty of murder in a state trial last year and, in December, pleaded guilty to similar federal charges that his three former co-workers now stand trial for.

When testimony resumed on Tuesday morning, it picked up with FBI video forensic investigator Kimberly Meline, who was the trial’s first witness on the stand Monday. Meline’s role as a witness was very procedural: simply to identify where all the video evidence, a mix of surveillance cameras, body-worn camera, and bystander video, came from. She also testified about synchronizing the videos together to give side-by-side views.

This testimony gets the various videos submitted into evidence right away. It also allows the jury to see the video evidence right away, too, since not all jurors had seen much of it when it was made public in the murder trial of Derek Chauvin.

The second witness was 20-year-old Christopher Martin, who worked as a cashier at Cup Foods in Minneapolis, and who took the counterfeit $20 bill from George Floyd on May 25, 2020.

"What was the Cup Foods store policy at this time about accepting counterfeit bills?" he was asked by a prosecutor.

"If you accept a counterfeit bill, you have to pay for it," Martin answered.

Martin said he was just going to accept the bill, but a manager told him to go outside and get George Floyd to come back in the store. Martin testified he twice went to the SUV parked across the street, where Floyd was in the driver’s seat, but Floyd and the other two occupants refused.

That’s when the manager decided to call police.

Martin said he became aware of what was going on outside, where Floyd was pinned to the pavement by Derek Chauvin, when people began gathering. He went out to watch for himself, at one point taking his own video with his phone.

When asked what happened to that video, he answered that he deleted it later that day.

"I didn’t want to be asked to show other people because I didn’t want to see it myself anymore."