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.
George Floyd had cuts to his face, mouth, and shoulder, medical examiner says
Dr Andrew Baker, the county medical examiner who autopsied George Floyd, says Mr Floyd didn’t have any injuries to his back, but had cuts to his face, lips, eyes, and shoulders after he was fatally arrested by police.
Mr Baker hasn’t yet commented on the cause of death, which he ultimately deemed a homicide last year, but previous medical experts have testified in the Derek Chauvin murder trial that these injuries came as Mr Floyd thrashed in handcuffs trying to free up more space so he could breathe.
George Floyd’s heart appeared to be ‘perfectly normal,’ medical examiner says
George Floyd’s heart appeared normal enough at the start of his autopsy that the county medical examiner didn’t even photograph it.
Dr Andrew Baker says he didn’t take a picture because it looked “perfectly normal.”
“Mr Floyd had no visible or microscopic previous damage to his heart,” he added.
The defence has argued heart problems caused Mr Floyd’s death.
Some of George Floyd’s arteries were 75 percent blocked, medical examiner says
Dr Andrew Baker just said that during his examination of George Floyd’s heart passages, two of his major arteries were about 75 percent blocked.
Damage wasn’t visible to George Floyd’s brain or heart, medical examiner testifies
An autopsy didn’t reveal visible damage to George Floyd’s brain or heart, Hennepin County medical examiner Dr Andrew Baker testified on Thursday.
That doesn’t mean his death didn’t involve those organs, however. Previously, medical experts have said that Mr Floyd was killed by a lack of oxygen to his brain and heart, but that wouldn’t necessarily leave a physical trace a coroner could find.
Despite past Covid diagnosis, George Floyd was ‘generally healthy’ on day of his death
- George Floyd had a bout of coronavirus in the months before he was fatally arrested last May—and even verbalized how he was afraid to go back to jail because of Covid—but according to Dr Andrew Baker, who conducted his autopsy, that didn’t seem to factor into the man’s death.
- “To the best of my knowledge, he was generally healthy on May 25 before the events of that evening.,” he said. “I’m unaware if he was suffering from any Covid systems at that time.”
‘Homicide in my world is a medical term,’ medical examiner testifies about George Floyd’s death
Last year, Dr Andrew Baker, a county medical examiner, ruled George Floyd’s death a homicide. But according to Mr Baker, who testified in the Derek Chauvin trial on Friday, that’s not a criminal ruling. It’s a public health one meant to sort deaths into different categories for medical analysis.
“As a medical examiner, we apply the term homicide when the actions of other people were involved in an individual’s death,” he said. “Homicide in my world is a medical term. It’s not a legal term.”
In other words, just because a coroner says a death is a homicide, it doesn’t mean a court has to or will in fact agree.
ICYMI: George Clooney has been offering blunt advice to George Floyd’s team in Chauvin trial emails
The Hollywood actor reached out to Floyd family lawyer Benjamin Crump by email this week, the attorney said in an appearance on The View.
Mr Clooney has been in contact with Mr Crump before as the actor is heavily engaged in social justice causes and has been paying close attention to the trial of Derek Chauvin, now in its tenth day.
Oliver O’Connell has more details here.
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Medical examiner who led George Floyd’s autopsy says police restraints ‘more than he could take’
George Floyd died because when police restrained him on the ground for more than nine minutes with knees on his back and neck, it was more than he “could take” with his pre-existing heart conditions, the county medical examiner who conducted Mr Floyd’s autopsy testified on Friday.
“In my opinion, the law enforcement subdual, restraint and neck compression was just more than Mr Floyd could take by virtue of those heart conditions,” Dr Andrew Baker said in the Derek Chauvin murder trial on Friday.
Assessing George Floyd’s cause of death is one of the main questions in this landmark policing case.
I’ve got more details on this major testimony here.
Assesing George Floyd’s cause of death is one of the main questions in this landmark policing case
Medical examiner didn’t watch George Floyd video before conducting autopsy
Prior to conducting George Floyd’s autopsy, county medical examiner Dr Andrew Baker says he didn’t watch the videos of Mr Floyd’s fatal arrest so he wouldn’t “bias” his analysis.
“I did not want that to be in my mind when I physically performed his autopsy on the morning of the 26th,” he said.
Defence questions analysis of George Floyd autopsy
The county medical examiner Dr Andrew Baker offered a relatively straightforward conclusion: that police restraint techniques were the primary factor that killed George Floyd, while other things like heart disease and drug use played a contributing role. The defence attorney Eric Nelson has pointed out a number of factors he thought complicated this analysis.
During his autopsy, Mr Nelson noted, Mr Baker didn’t document any damage to Mr Floyd’s neck and back, nor to his brain, and afterwards the medical examiner told prosecutors he would be suspicious the death was an overdose if Mr Floyd hadn’t also been involved in a physical struggle with officers.
Additionally, Mr Nelson noted that the county medical examiner has said he has seen fatal cases where individuals had even less fentanyl than Mr Floyd did at the time of his death.
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