Minneapolis restaurateur Rashad West. West’s surveillance camera footage from his restaurant, Dragon Wok, disproved Derek Chauvin’s claims that George Floyd resisted arrest. Photos: Nancy Musinguzi

The Man Whose Surveillance Camera Sparked a National Uprising

Rashad West went from hardworking teen to college athlete to restaurant owner by the age of 26. Then he single-handedly proved that George Floyd was not resisting arrest.

Bonsu Thompson
Published in
9 min readJun 29, 2020

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For Minneapolis restaurateur Rashad West, 2019 was the absolute best. Business at Dragon Wok, his Southside Minneapolis Asian eatery, was booming. After four years, West’s takeout joint was outgrowing its modest 1,100 square feet. This was when fate struck and put the 30-year-old African American in position to make history. Explicit Black history.

A neighboring proprietor looking to retire offered West the opportunity to move Dragon Wok a few blocks east, down 38th Street, from Nicollet to Chicago avenue. The new real estate tripled his space and enabled him to offer a new service: indoor dining. In January, he moved into his new digs; his new doors opened in early March. Then Covid-19 hit.

Unlike many Americans, West didn’t panic. His concern ran towards the community first and his business second. “I was thinking that I didn’t want the Minneapolis economy to collapse,”…

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Bonsu Thompson
LEVEL
Writer for

Bonsu Thompson is a writer, producer, Brooklynite and 2019 Sundance Screenwriters Lab fellow.