Fact Check: George Floyd Was NOT 'Found To Be Innocent,' No Word On If $20 Bill Was Real

Fact Check

  • by: Alan Duke
Fact Check: George Floyd Was NOT 'Found To Be Innocent,' No Word On If $20 Bill Was Real No Conclusion

Have investigators concluded that George Floyd was innocent of passing a fake $20 bill because the money was real? No, that's not true: Investigators have not made their findings public because the case is ongoing. Whether or not the bill was counterfeit has little to do with the investigation since Floyd is dead and cannot be charged. It also is not a factor in the case against the four police officers charged in his death.

The claim appeared in a meme, including in a post (archived here) shared on Facebook on June 2, 2020, which featured a photo of the owner of Cup Foods, the Minneapolis store where Floyd used the alleged fake $20 to buy cigarettes. It read:

He was found to be innocent. The bill was real. Literally all of this over a 20 dollar bill that a man assumed was fake.

This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:

Facebook screenshot

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Wed Jun 3 20:56:47 2020 UTC)

The meme also made the false claim that it was store owner Mahmoud Abumayyaleh who called police on Floyd:


While investigators are not addressing details about the purported counterfiet bill, many details are known of what happened before Floyd died under the knee of a police officer who responded to the call. The charging documents and media interviews revealed that it was a teenaged clerk who made the 911 call to report that a man had just passed a fake $20. It was not the Abumayyaleh, who owns the neighborhood grocery with his brothers.

An article on TheCut.com, titled 'If I Would Have Been Here, George Floyd May Still Be Alive', features an interview with the store owner:

Abumayyaleh knew Floyd, calling him a "big teddy bear" who would come to Cup Foods a few times a week to pay his cell phone bill, and said that they always got along. But that fatal night, a few of his younger employees with less experience were working. Abumayyaleh wishes he had been in the store to speak with Floyd himself. "If I would have been here the authorities would not have been called," he said. "George Floyd may still be alive."

The New York Times published a story titled What Happened in the Chaotic Moments Before George Floyd Died detailed the moments just after the teen clerk called police to report the fake bill:

Not long after, Angel Stately, a regular customer and former employee, arrived at the store looking for menthol cigarettes. The police were already outside. Ms. Stately said the clerk, a teenager, was feeling bad; he had called the police, he told her, only because it was protocol.

The claim that the "bill was real" and Floyd "was found to be innocent" is unsupported by what we know. The claim that Cup Foods owner Mahmoud Abumayyaleh is the person who called police on Floyd is clearly false.

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  Alan Duke

Editor-in-Chief Alan Duke co-founded Lead Stories after ending a 26-year career with CNN, where he mainly covered entertainment, current affairs and politics. Duke closely covered domestic terrorism cases for CNN, including the Oklahoma City federal building bombing, the UNABOMBER and search for Southeast bomber Eric Robert Rudolph. CNN moved Duke to Los Angeles in 2009 to cover the entertainment beat. Duke also co-hosted a daily podcast with former HLN host Nancy Grace, "Crime Stories with Nancy Grace" and hosted the podcast series "Stan Lee's World: His Real Life Battle with Heroes & Villains." You'll also see Duke in many news documentaries, including on the Reelz channel, CNN and HLN.

Read more about or contact Alan Duke

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