(LEVEL) — Minneapolis restaurateur Rashad West, the owner of Dragon Wok, released surveillance camera footage from outside his restaurant disproving Derek Chauvin’s claims that George Floyd resisted arrest.
West felt it was his duty to make his findings public.
George Floyd's murder first came to prominence via cellphone video, but it was Rashad West's surveillance camera footage that disproved Derek Chauvin's justification.
On May 25, for nearly nine minutes, Derek Chauvin’s knee pinned George Floyd’s neck into Chicago avenue. Floyd had been apprehended and arrested minutes before — directly in front of Dragon Wok — for allegedly giving a teenage clerk at the neighboring Cup Foods grocery store a counterfeit bill. Dragon Wok’s operational hours were still abbreviated at the time, and on that particularly terrible Monday, the restaurant was closed. West had no idea.
The next morning, he received a flurry of texts and calls about someone dying across the street from his restaurant; the death, he heard, was a result of the perpetrator resisting arrest. His landlord encouraged him to check the security surveillance camera. The footage showed an extremely distressed but consistently compliant Floyd. It debunked any rumors of Floyd’s resistance and revealed that he was, in West’s words, “not treated like a human being.”
He hadn’t yet watched the original footage of Chauvin — captured by a bystander, Darnella Frazier — kneeling on Floyd for eight minutes and 46 seconds. He didn’t know that Frazier’s video started long into the encounter, and that his own surveillance camera would be the first to directly contradict the officers’ statement that Floyd had physically resisted. Regardless, he felt it was his duty to make his findings public. “I didn’t want people throwing dirt on this man’s name about what he might have been doing,” says West. “For once, I had an opportunity to put a stop to the BS.” — Bonsu Thompson/@levelmag