MINNEAPOLIS — A now-charged police officer and a black man who died in his custody both worked as security guards at a popular Latin nightclub as recently as the end of last year. But the club’s former owner says it’s not clear whether they knew each other.

Officer Derek Chauvin worked at the El Nuevo Rodeo club as off-duty security for nearly two decades. George Floyd had worked there only more recently for about a dozen events that featured African American music, Maya Santamaria told The Associated Press.

Santamaria says she doesn’t believe the two knew each other before their encounter Monday night when the officer was seen on cellphone video kneeling on Floyd’s neck. Santamaria says that if the officer had recognized Floyd, “He might have given him a little more mercy.”

Santamaria sold the venue within the past two months. She says Chauvin got along well with the regular Latino customers, but didn’t like to work the African American nights. When he did, and there was a fight, he would spray people with mace and call for police backup. She says a half-dozen squad cars would soon show up, something she felt was unjustified “overkill."