Christopher Martin, a 19-year-old former convenience store employee, testified Wednesday that he felt guilty for telling his manager about George Floyd's counterfeit $20 bill last May, leading to Floyd's arrest and ultimately his death at the hands of police.
The teen, who testified during the third day of Derek Chauvin's murder trial, described feeling "disbelief" and "guilt" as he watched Floyd's deadly encounter with police on May 25, 2020.
"If I would have just not taken the bill, this could have been avoided," Martin told the court.
Like Martin, two other teens who witnessed Floyd's arrest also testified about feeling guilty that they weren't able to help or save Floyd as he struggled to breathe under the weight of Chauvin's knee on his neck.
"It was difficult because there wasn't anything I could do as a bystander," a teenage girl, who was 17 at the time of Floyd's arrest, told the court on Tuesday. "I was failing to do anything."
An 18-year-old woman who recorded the viral video of Floyd's arrest cried in court as she recalled spending sleepless nights apologizing to Floyd for "not saving his life."
Martin, who had a full-time job at the Cup Foods store and who lived above the business with his mother and sister at the time of the incident, quit his job after Floyd's death.
"I didn't feel safe," the teen said.
Martin described Floyd's demeanor inside Cup Foods as being "very friendly, approachable, talkative... [he] just seemed to be having an average Memorial Day, just living his life, but he did seem high."
He told the court he knew that Floyd had given him a counterfeit $20 bill to buy a pack of cigarettes, but that he didn't want to call him out on it.
"I thought George didn't know it was a fake bill...I was trying to help him out," Martin said.
Martin said Cup Foods had a policy that if an employee accepted a fake bill, the amount would be taken out of their paycheck.
The teen said that he accepted Floyd's fake bill and planned to put it on his own tab until he "second-guessed" himself and eventually told his manager about it.
The manager instructed Martin to go out to Floyd's car parked across the street and tell him to come back to the store to discuss the fake bill, Martin testified.
Martin said he and a coworker were unsuccessful in persuading Floyd, who was with two passengers, to come back to the store.
Martin told the court that he offered to pay for the fake bill himself, but his manager refused and ordered him to go back out again and convince Floyd to return to the store.
When Floyd refused the second time, Martin said his manager asked another coworker to call 911.
The teen said he was inside Cup Foods when he heard a "commotion" outside the store and saw a crowd of onlookers had gathered.
When he went outside, he said, he saw "Derek [Chauvin] with his knee on George's neck."
The first thing Martin did was call his mother and tell her not to come outside, and then he began recording the incident with his cellphone.
He said he saw one of the police officers push his teenage coworker, who was yelling at them to check Floyd's pulse and to see if he was OK.
Martin said he deleted the video after Floyd's death because he didn't want to show it to anyone or be questioned about it.