Apr 1, 2021 - News

Derek Chauvin trial testimony puts Cup Foods back in the spotlight

A Cup Foods worker said store owners took counterfeit bills out of employees' paychecks. Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

The South Minneapolis corner store where George Floyd was accused of passing a fake $20 bill before his death was at the center of the Derek Chauvin trial Wednesday.

Driving the news: Former Cup Foods employee Christopher Martin testified that the independent grocer's policy was if an employee accepted a counterfeit bill, the cash came out of the worker's paycheck.

  • Martin, 19, also said store managers twice sent him out to confront Floyd about the fake bill.
  • Cup Foods eventually called the police, which is what brought Chauvin to the scene.

Why it matters: The testimony sparked fresh online criticism of Cup Foods, which was already under scrutiny following its role in Floyd's death.

  • Activists have tried to shut the store down, accusing the owners of "exploiting the community for over 30 years and being a crime magnet," according to a Minnesota Reformer story from August.
  • The owners say the store, which reopened in August, is an important part of the community. They pledged to hold anti-bias training for staff and invest in a mural and garden nearby, per The Star Tribune.

The other side: A spokesman for Cup Foods said in a statement, "We ONLY tell employees they have to pay for counterfeit bills if they don't check them as a deterrent. We've never made an employee pay for a counterfeit bill."

This story first appeared in the Axios Twin Cities newsletter, designed to help readers get smarter, faster on the most consequential news unfolding in their own backyard.


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