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Arab Owner of Shop at Centre of US Protests: We Were all Outraged

May 31, 2020
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The conflagration of protests, arson and looting that has exploded in the United States this past week had begun at the counter of an Arab American grocer. Staff at Cup Foods, called Minneapolis police after George Floyd, 46, twice tried to use a fake $20 bill to make a purchase at the shop, according to a report by Arab News.

Mahmoud Abumayyaleh, the owner of Cup Foods, said Floyd, who was known to him as a customer, was always pleasant. He said he was unaware that the man had died, until the next morning. Abumayyaleh, said, “We were all outraged,” adding that Floyd might not even have known that the bill was counterfeit.

An officer who arrested Floyd pinned to the ground by pressing a knee against his neck, while three other officers looked on. Floyd could be heard in video footage of the arrest pleading that he could not breathe. He lost consciousness and later died in hospital. Derek Chauvin, the officer filmed kneeling on the neck of a handcuffed and unarmed George Floyd, was charged with one count of third-degree murder. Further charges are expected.

Abumayyaleh said, “What took place outside … was not in our hands.” He added, “The murder and execution was something done by the police, and it was an abuse of power. The police brutality needs to stop.” Meanwhile, he and his sons, have gone into hiding following alleged threats against them made on social media. They have also taken down their store’s Facebook page and have disconnected Cup Foods phone line.

Protests against the death of George Floyd, at the hands of law enforcement, have seen more than 200 shops in Minneapolis looted, burned, or vandalised. Arab News reports that Arab shop owners are afraid of speaking out against the incident, with one only commenting that both Floyd’s murder as well as the looting were wrong. In the past two days the violence spread to New York, Detroit, Chicago, St. Louis, Houston, Atlanta and Charlotte, North Carolina.

Umm Muhammed Umar

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