Bombshell in George Floyd autopsy
An independent autopsy into the death of George Floyd has found he died from "asphyxiation from sustained pressure" to both his neck and back, the family's lawyer said today.
An investigation by Dr Michael Baden and Dr Allecia Wilson found his death was caused by sustained compression to the neck and back that led to a lack of blood flow to the brain. They believe Mr Floyd died at the scene, rather than in hospital later.
"What we found is consistent with what people saw. There is no other health issue that could cause or contribute to the death," Dr. Baden said. "Police have this false impression that if you can talk, you can breathe. That's not true."
"For George Floyd, the ambulance was his hearse. 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," said family lawyer Ben Crump.
"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."
The preliminary report conducted by the Hennepin County Medical Examiner found "no physical findings that support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxia or strangulation," and in a statement say cause and manner of death remains pending. #GeorgeFloyd— Omar Jimenez (@OmarJimenez) June 1, 2020
Mr Floyd, an African-American man, died after white police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck while he was handcuffed on the ground. Two other officers were kneeling on Mr Floyd's back while another looked on.
Chauvin had his knee on Mr Floyd's neck for a total 8 minutes and 46 seconds, according to his own body camera, and for two minutes and 53 seconds Mr Floyd was unresponsive according to the criminal complaint.
During the shocking incident, which was caught on film, Mr Floyd pleaded for his life, repeatedly saying "I can't breathe".
The horrific incident immediately sparked outrage in the US and has led to seven days and nights of protests, fires, looting and burning of public buildings as people call for justice for Mr Floyd.
The anger has become so intense that President Donald Trump has reportedly been hiding in a bunker at the White House as his security is compromised.
The findings from the family's independent autopsy differ from those proposed by the Hennepin County in a Criminal Complaint against Chauvin.
The complaint suggested Floyd may have been killed by a number of things, including underlying conditions.
The Hennepin County Medical Examiner reported there were "no physical findings" to "support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxia or strangulation" according to the Hennepin County Attorney's Office's Criminal Complaint of third degree murder against Chauvin.
The criminal complaint filed by the County also cited preliminary toxicology results, and said Mr Floyd died from the combined effects of being restrained, as well as "underlying health issues".
The complaint argues heart disease contributed to his health. According to CNN, toxicology results take weeks. Mr Floyd died one week ago.
Chauvin has been charged with third degree murder, or depraved heart murder, and second degree manslaughter for the killing.
Depraved heart murder is an usual charge, that implies a person behaved in a reckless or cruel way, with a "depraved heart" causing death. It does not imply intent.
The three other officers have not been charged over the killing.
Co-counsel Antonio Romanucci also blamed the Minneapolis Police Department culture as being responsible for his death.
"The City of Minneapolis clearly had a pattern, custom and practice of failing to train and discipline its police officers, creating a culture of impunity allowing them to treat people of colour as lesser human beings, unworthy of basic respect," he said.
Mr Crump and the Floyd family have called on protesters to refrain from violence and looting.
"On behalf of the family that we understand the righteous anger we see playing out on streets across the country. We support the activism and energy of the people who want to make sure we achieve change, and we hope those efforts continue," Mr Crump said.
"But looting and violence are absolutely unacceptable. They were unacceptable to George, and they must be unacceptable to us. The way to honour George is to achieve justice. As a country, we need to take a deep breath. George Floyd wasn't allowed that, but we must. We have a team of top legal minds who are not going to stop until there's justice for George Floyd and his family."
Originally published as Bombshell in George Floyd autopsy