Derek Chauvin taken into custody 'with dignity' unlike George Floyd, witness says 'shows what we deal with'
'He gets a nice good trial and he gets to be protected in prison for however long but obviously that's not the same for an African American,' said key prosecution witness Christopher Martin
George Floyd's decision to purchase cigarettes with a counterfeit $20 note sparked off a tragic sequence of events that eventually led to his death.
Christopher Martin, the teenager who served Floyd at the shop, became a key prosecution witness in the trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin. The former police officer was convicted of Floyd's murder on Tuesday, April 20.
The witness, Martin, is apparently too scared to work in the shop following the tragedy, but has revealed that giving evidence at the trial had brought him a sense of relief, Sky News reported.
"That probably felt the best for me - to let everything out and get it off my chest and tell the world what really happened," he told the outlet. "I thought it was very beneficial for getting justice for George and his family. So that was very satisfying."
Martin was captured on CCTV with his hands on his head outside the store as he witnessed Floyd's ominous arrest unfold. In court, he was asked what had been going through his mind during the harrowing ordeal.
"Disbelief and guilt," he told the court. "If I would have just not taken the bill, this would have been avoided."
Martin said he had offered to pay for the cigarettes himself as he didn't want to escalate the issue or have the police called. However, the situation soon spiraled out of hand and he eventually found himself in the middle of it, experiencing a sense of guilt for something he didn't do. The witness was asked how it felt to hear a guilty verdict for Chauvin. "It took a load off my back in a lot of ways," he said. "I would say it was relieving."
However, Martin commented on the inequality that felt stark when he saw Chauvin handcuffed in court, according to the report. According to him, the former cop was taken into custody safely and with dignity, a far cry from what Floyd was put through over a fake $20 note.
"It just shows again what we have to deal with," Martin said. "He gets a nice good trial and he gets to be protected in prison for however long but obviously that's not the same for an African American."
Martin said he felt a sense of helplessness and fear of the police on that fateful day, especially after a black man was persecuted in custody instead of being protected.
"I believe once they put their badge on they believe that they're better or higher up than other people and civilians and that gives them the 'right' to treat people however they want to," Martin told Sky News. "It's sickening and there needs to be change immediately. Derek being guilty, that's one step. But there are a lot of areas that need work."
According to him, the tragedy has had a lasting impact on his life.
"It's something I'll carry to my grave," he concluded.