Watch CBS News

Man who claimed George Floyd and Derek Chauvin "bumped heads" changes story

Minneapolis police chief calls for reform
Minneapolis police chief demands reform, withdraws from union negotiations 04:05

Editor's Note: This story and headline have been updated to reflect a new account from David Pinney, who previously said he worked with George Floyd and Derek Chauvin. 

A man who worked at the same club with George Floyd and Derek Chauvin – and previously told CBS News the two had "bumped heads" – changed his story Wednesday, saying he had mistaken Floyd for another unnamed African-American employee.  

David Pinney told CBS News he worked at the same club where Chauvin and Floyd  were employed to provide part-time security. Chauvin is the former police officer who is charged in Floyd's death. 

In an interview with CBS News, parts of which aired Tuesday, Pinney had described a tense relationship between Chauvin and a man who he said was Floyd, and said that the two knew each other "pretty well." 

On Wednesday, Pinney told CBS News in an email he had confused Floyd with someone else: "There has been a mix up between George and another fellow co-worker," he wrote.  

The club's former owner, Maya Santamaria, had connected Pinney with CBS News. "She specifically said she was unable to give detail information about George because she did not have a close relationship with him as I did," Pinney said in the email. He said that led to his mistake. 

"I apologize for not doing my due diligence and placing you in a very uncomfortable situation," he wrote.  

Pinney had also described Chauvin as "extremely aggressive within the club," a characterization he stands by. 

On June 6, in a 50-minute-long videotaped interview with CBS News, Pinney described, in detail, several interactions he recalled between Floyd and Chauvin. 

"Is there any doubt in your mind that Derek Chauvin knew George Floyd?" CBS News asked Pinney. "No. He knew him," Pinney said.

"How well did he know him?" CBS News asked. "I would say pretty well," Pinney replied.

"I knew George on a work basis," he said. "We were pretty close. When it came to our security positions, he was in charge and I worked directly below him as a security adviser."

Pinney said he worked with Floyd for about five or six months in late 2015 and early 2016.

Pinney originally described how he worked with Floyd to break up fights: "He was good at talking with people and establishing himself. He never had to put his hands on anybody. Usually his presence would stop people from having any type of competition with one another." 

Pinney also said, "Our job, in a security position, was to hold the peace in the club and separate the guests if there was an issue. And honestly, we had very few issues when we worked together in the club."

He initially described a close bond: "It's a difference when you work side by side with somebody. Like, I see him like a brother...."

Pinney also described working with both men and said Floyd didn't want to interact with Chauvin because of Chauvin's aggressive behavior. 

"…..he always showed aggression to, you know, George.  So George, to keep it professional, George had me intervene and – interface with him instead of himself, just to be – just to get away from the conflict and keep it professional."

Pinney also said: "I can relate to George, how he felt. And I think that's what makes that personal bond between him and I, dealing with Derek."

CBS News has confirmed that as part of the investigation, investigators are looking at whether the two men knew each other, and if so, what the relationship was. 

Santamaria told CBS News that investigators have asked her questions about the two men and whether there had been any disputes.

Chauvin has been charged with second-degree murder. The Floyd family says they believe what happened on May 25 was in part personal. Their lawyer has previously called for Chauvin to be charged with first-degree murder, "because we believe he knew who George Floyd was."

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.