Co-worker Recants Story that Derek Chauvin and George Floyd Had History of Conflict

Derek Chauvin and George Floyd
@AttorneyCrump / Twitter

On Wednesday, David Pinney took back his account of the prior relationship between George Floyd and the Minneapolis Police officer who killed him.

After claiming Derek Chauvin and George Floyd “bumped heads” when they worked together at a nightclub years ago, former co-worker David Pinney has changed his tune. Pinney worked with both men at the El Nuevo Rodeo in south Minneapolis. He initially claimed Chauvin and Floyd knew one another “pretty well” and had “bumped heads” while working together.

In fact, Pinney asserted that the tension between Floyd and Chauvin “[had] a lot to do with Derek being extremely aggressive within the club with some of the patrons, which was an issue.” His initial story left no room for doubt: “Is there any doubt in your mind that Derek Chauvin knew George Floyd?” CBS News asked Pinney on Saturday. “No,” Pinney replied. “He knew him.”

“[Chauvin] always showed aggression to, you know, George. So George, to keep it professional, George had me intervene and — interface with him instead of himself, just to be — just to get away from the conflict and keep it professional.” He said he could “relate to George, how he felt. And I think that’s what makes that personal bond between him and I, dealing with Derek.”

Pinney also claimed to have been closely acquainted with Floyd, on a professional level: “I knew George on a work basis,” Pinney told the outlet. “We were pretty close. When it came to our security positions, he was in charge and I worked directly below him as a security adviser.” Doubling down on the claim, Pinney told CBS. “It’s a difference when you work side by side with somebody… Like, I see him like a brother…”

But something did not click for former club owner Maya Santamaria, and Pinney has claimed that is how he became aware of his mistake. “There has been a mix up between George and another fellow co-worker,” Pinney said in his e-mailed retraction.

“She specifically said she was unable to give detail information about George because she did not have a close relationship with him as I did,” Pinney said in the corrective e-mail. “I apologize for not doing my due diligence and placing you in a very uncomfortable situation,” he wrote.

It is fortunate that this clarification was timely. Pinney’s testimony could have elevated charges against Chauvin to first-degree murder. If that testimony had been admitted and then proven false, the former Minneapolis officer may have evaded prosecution. Chauvin is currently charged with second-degree murder for the public killing of George Floyd.

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