A couple nights ago, CBS News confirmed the widely circulated rumor George Floyd and Derek Chauvin knew each other.
Not only that, CBS said, the two had "beef." Depending on which version of the story you saw or read, the conflict between Chauvin and Floyd either started over Chauvin being "extremely aggressive" toward customers at El Nuevo Rodeo, where the two worked security -- or over a paycheck, which Chauvin thought was short, and blamed on Floyd.
Those stories came from David Pinner, who worked with the two men, and said he'd clashed with Chauvin himself. Pinner's interview with network correspondent Jeff Pegues made for bizarre watching at certain points, with the reporter repeatedly asking the source how sure he was that Chauvin knew Floyd before killing him.
That ended with this exchange:
Pegues: Any doubt in your mind he knew who George was?
Pinney: No doubt in my mind. He knew exactly who George was.
It was an explosive scoop, one that even raised the specter of a premeditated murder instead of simple police brutality. The story spread quickly.
Today, Pinney and CBS are trying to take it back.
In an email to the network, Pinney said he was mistaken, explaining (in one of the most extraordinary uses of passive voice ever committed): "There has been a mix up between George and another fellow co-worker." Pinney added that he's sorry for "not doing my due diligence and placing [CBS] in a very uncomfortable situation."
The tale of a money mix-up was apparently verified by "another person," though CBS didn't give a hint who that was. It doesn't seem to have been former owner Maya Santamaria, who was interviewed by the network, but had previously said she didn't believe the two men knew each other.
During the course of an apparently 50-minute interview, Pinney claimed he'd worked with Floyd "in late 2015 and early 2016." Floyd was "good at talking with people and establishing himself," said Pinney. During the course of the interview, Pinney went from saying he knew Floyd "pretty well" and "on a work basis" to stating: "It's different when you work side by side with someone. Like, I see him like a brother."
At another point, Pinney apparently said Chauvin "always showed aggression to, you know, [Floyd]," and that he (Pinney) would "interface with [Chauvin]... to get away from the conflict and keep it professional."
The story doesn't indicate whether this claim of Pinney's was credible, or another identity mix-up of someone he says was "like a brother" to him.
If Jeff Pegues or CBS News feels the least bit bad about not doing their "due diligence," that also didn't make this story.