George Floyd’s Cause Of Death Was Homicide By Asphyxia, Private Autopsy Finds
A private post-mortem examination – separate to the one conducted by the county medical examiner – has found that George Floyd died from asphyxia.
George Floyd, an unarmed black man, died after Derek Chauvin, a white Minneapolis police officer, knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes until he lost consciousness. Despite repeatedly telling officers he couldn’t breathe, and witnesses pleading with police to stop, Floyd later died.
Now, medical examiners hired by Floyd’s family have said he died due to compression on his neck and back by Minneapolis police officers – findings that differ from an official preliminary examination.
The Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s initial autopsy found ‘no physical findings that support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxia or strangulation’, ruling that ‘underlying health conditions’ contributed to Floyd’s death.
After receiving these results, Floyd’s family decided to pursue an independent autopsy, with medical examiners disputing the initial report and saying the 46-year-old died from asphyxiation caused by neck and back compression.
Medical examiners found pressure on Floyd’s carotid artery impeded blood flow to his brain, while the weight on his back impeded his ability to breathe. The two doctors hired by the Floyd family, Dr. Michael Baden and Dr. Allecia Wilson, found his death was a homicide.
‘From all the evidence, the doctors said it now appears Mr. Floyd died at the scene,’ a statement from the family’s legal team said.
Footage taken on Monday, May 25, showed a defenceless Floyd lying face-down on the ground during an arrest for an alleged forgery, Chauvin’s knee pressed into his neck. Floyd could be heard shouting, ‘I cannot breathe’ and ‘Don’t kill me’ as onlookers begged the officer to stop.
Floyd then became motionless, eyes closed and face still pressed to the ground, with witnesses pleading with police to check his pulse. They didn’t, and in fact didn’t move until medics arrived at the scene to carry him to an ambulance. He was later pronounced dead.
Lead attorney Ben Crump described the ambulance as Floyd’s hearse, adding: ‘Beyond question, he would be alive today if not for the pressure applied to his neck by fired officer Derek Chauvin and the strain on his body from two additional officers kneeling on him.’
Mr. Floyd’s death was a homicide by officers who taunted him while holding him down for more than eight minutes. And the officer who stood by doing nothing was a physical blue shield – a living symbol of the code of silence…
What we know is this: George Floyd was alive before his encounter with Derek Chauvin and his fellow officers, and he was dead shortly after that. The tragic cause of death is incredibly clear, and we are fiercely committed to justice for his family.
Crump called for Chauvin to be charged with first degree murder for his role in Floyd’s death, so far the former police officer has been charged with third degree murder and manslaughter.
Under Minnesota law, third-degree murder is defined as causing death of a person ‘by perpetrating an act eminently dangerous to others and evincing a depraved mind,’ without regard for life and without intent to kill.
However, Crump said the fact Chauvin ‘knew his continued pressure on Mr. Floyd’s body would cause death’, and the fact he continued kneeling on him ‘despite warnings and evidence that his life was in danger’, demands a first degree murder charge.
Charges of first degree murder typically require prosecutors to prove that a defendant intended to kill their victim, whereas third degree does not. First degree murder also typically requires premeditation.
The Hennepin County Medical Examiner added an update on Monday, June 1, to its official autopsy, saying the manner of death is homicide.
However, rather than asphyxiation, the report listed the cause of death as ‘cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint and neck compression’.
It also said Mr Floyd suffered from other significant conditions, including arteriosclerotic and hypertensive heart disease, fentanyl intoxication, and recent methamphetamine use.
However, Dr. Michael Baden said:
What we found is consistent with what people saw. There is no health issue that could cause or contribute to the death. Police have this false impression that if you can talk, you can breathe. That’s not true.
Protests continue across the country and worldwide, with thousands demanding the four officers involved in Floyd’s death be brought to justice.
Rest in peace, George.
If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article and wish to speak to someone in confidence, contact Stop Hate UK by visiting their website www.stophateuk.org/talk
If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677.