George Floyd died ‘because he had no oxygen in his body’, medical expert says
Dr Baker is the only person who performed an autopsy on George Floyd, following his death in May 2020 in the custody of Mr Chauvin and three other Minneapolis officers.
The former officer faces two murder charges after he knelt on Mr Floyd’s back for more than nine minutes during the arrest for a counterfeit $20 bill nearly 12 months ago.
Dr Baker’s testimony will come a day after two major witnesses for the state testified in court on Thursday that Mr Floyd died when Mr Chauvin kneeled on his neck until he couldn’t breathe.
“Mr Floyd died of positional asphyxia, which is a fancy way of saying he died because he had no oxygen in his body,” said Dr Bill Smock, a forensic medical specialist and police training doctor.
“When the body is deprived of oxygen, in this case from pressure on his chest and back, he gradually succumbed to lower and lower levels of oxygen until it was gone and he died,” he added.
Earlier in the day, Dr Martin Tobin, a lung specialist, reached a similar conclusion on the stand.
“Mr Floyd died from a low level of oxygen,” he said. “It’s like the left side is in a vice. It’s totally being totally pushed in, squeezed in from each side,” he added.
The jury is set to reconvene at 9:15am CT (3:15 UK) on Friday, as the prosecution continues to state its case.
Check out The Independent’s live updates and analysis below.
Police restraints killed George Floyd, third doctor testifies
Police killed George Floyd when they handcuffed him on the ground and kneeled on his neck for more than nine minutes, cutting off his oxygen supply, according to a pathologist who testified in the Derek Chauvin trial on Friday.
That’s according to Dr Lindsey Thomas, a Minnesota-based pathologist, the third expert in the trial so far to reach that conclusion.
“His chest is sort of compressed in this position in such a way that he can’t adequately expand and get enough oxygen in,” she said.
As police continued kneeling on Mr Floyd, Dr Thomas says air eventually stops getting to his brain and he has an involuntary body twitch from lack of air, known as an anoxic reaction.
“It’s something that the body does when the brain no longer has enough oxygen,” she said. “That’s the point at which you can tell by looking, that’s where he no longer is getting oxygen to his brain. Then the restraint and subdual and compression continue for many minutes more, even after someone checks and says there’s no pulse they maintain the position. At that point his heart has also stopped.”
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George Floyd’s death wasn’t a heart attack or overdose, pathologist says
Dr Lindsey Thomas, a forensic pathologist, has also ruled out the defence’s main arguments that Mr Floyd died from an underlying cardiac problem or a fentanyl overdose.
She explained that heart problems on their own usually come quickly, while opioid overdoses move gradually, with people becoming woozy or sleepy before slowly passing out and dying. Neither scenario, the pathologist said, matched the continued struggle between Mr Floyd and officers caught on numerous videos.
“The bystander videos are really instructive, as well as the surveillance videos from the scene, at showing him during the time of the restraint,” she said. “There has never been a case that I’ve been involved with that had videos of such a long timeframe, and from so many angles,” she added.
Jurors look at private evidence of George Floyd’s autopsy
Jurors are examining photos showing the injuries on George Floyd’s body discovered during his autopsy, including scrapes on his face, knuckles, wrists, and shoulder, from his struggle with officers.
They’re extremely graphic, and the court has decided not to broadcast them to the public during the live feed of the trial.
Derek Chauvin had a supporter in the court on Friday
Today marks the first time Derek Chauvin had a member of the public sit in and watch the trial as his guest, according to pool notes.
What is a homicide? Forensic pathologist explaines
Dr Lindsey Thomas, a forensic pathologist, is back on the stand after the trial took a 20 minute break.
She’s explaining what exactly it means when coroners rule a death a homicide: that the primary fact of death is that one person is responsible for killing someone else.
“Although there may not have been intent to kill the victim, victim died because of the harmful, intentional, volitional act,” she said, quoting from a manual.
Last summer, the Hennepin County Medical Examiner ruled George Floyd’s death a homicide. He’s expected to testify later today to further explain his findings.
Watch live as murder trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin continues
Floyd’s body wasn’t bruised in death, defence argues, suggesting it wasn’t strangulation
Defence attorney Eric Nelson is suggesting that because George Floyd’s body didn’t show signs of bruising, he may not have been smothered to death.
“Along Mr Floyd’s back, there’s no long bruise consistent with a shin bone. There’s no more circular bruise consistent with a knee cap,” Mr Nelson said. “Ultimately what increases the likelihood of seeing a bruise is the amount of force applied,” he added.
But multiple medical experts have testified so far that even in fatal cases, someone times people who are strangled don’t show signs of bruising.
See you in an hour
The trial is on lunch break and will be back in about an hour. Stay tuned for the expected testimony of Dr Andrew Baker, the Hennepin County medical examiner, who performed the autopsy on George Floyd and declared his death a homicide.
So far, most all of the medical experts to have testified were speaking from their clinical experience, rather than direct work with Mr Floyd himself.
Medical examiner who autopsied George Floyd takes the stand
Up next is Dr Andrew Baker, the county medical examiner who autopsied George Floyd. He is perhaps the trial’s most important witness so far.
Jury examines autopsy photos of George Floyd
The jury is now examining handouts containing photos of George Floyd’s autopsy. Due to their graphic and confidential nature, they aren’t being broadcast publicly.
Dr Andrew Baker, the county medical examiner who autopsied Mr Floyd, said he tries to take such thorough photos another pathologist could reach the same conclusions he did if they encountered the same evidence.
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