Derek Chauvin medical expert sued in case where Black man’s death was allegedly covered up

Anton Black died in rural Maryland in 2018 after being restrained by police

Graeme Massie
Los Angeles
Thursday 20 January 2022 19:52
<p><a href="/topic/maryland">Maryland</a> teenager Anton Black died in custody in 2018</p>

Maryland teenager Anton Black died in custody in 2018

A medical expert for George Floyd killer Derek Chauvin has been sued in a case where a Black man’s death in police custody was allegedly covered up.

Maryland teenager Anton Black died in custody in 2018 after being put in the same choke-hold that led to Mr Floyd’s death in Minnesota.

David Fowler, the retired medical examiner of Maryland, is named in a civil rights lawsuit by Black’s family, which was allowed to proceed by a judge earlier this week.

During the George Floyd case, Mr Fowler appeared as a defence witness and testified that Floyd’s death was not caused by the nine minute choke hold he was placed in by Chauvin.

Instead, he told the jury it could have been caused by a preexisting heart condition, combined with drugs, exposure to fumes from the police vehicle and a benign tumor found on Floyd’s pelvis after his death.

His evidence was contradicted by other medical experts at the trial, and the state of Maryland is now reviewing reports of deaths in police custody during Mr Fowler’s time in office.

During his time as medical examiner, Mr Fowler ruled that Black’s death in police custody was an accident, and that there were no signs police officers did anything wrong.

Black’s relatives have also sued the three officers who tried to restrain him: former Greensboro police Officer Thomas Webster IV, former Ridgley police Chief Gary Manos and Centreville police Officer Dennis Lannon.

Chief Manos and Officer Lannon were off duty when they tried to help Officer Webster arrest Black.

“In sum, based on the evidence provided, a jury could conclude that Webster’s use of the baton and taser as a first resort, as well as Webster’s and Manos’s use of their bodies to apply pressure to Black with Lannon’s assistance and positioning of Black’s legs while he was being cuffed and shackled, were unreasonable and therefore excessive uses of force in violation of Black’s constitutional rights,” wrote US District Judge Catherine Blake in a memorandum as she refused to throw out the case.

The court’s ruling was welcomed by Black’s family.

“Our family and the Coalition for Justice for Anton Black has fought for justice for Anton from day one,” his sister LaToya Holley told Law&Crime.

“This court decision brings us a step closer to accountability for the police murder of Anton and those who covered it up, and for all the families still mourning loved ones who have been killed by police.”

The lawsuit claims that police used excessive force on the 19-year-old when they handcuffed and shackled his legs outside the family’s home in rural Greensboro, Maryland.

Black was suffering a mental health crisis at the time of the arrest, which was captured on video by a bystander.

None of the police officers also sued in the case have faced any criminal charges in connection with the incident.

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