There are new details surrounding George Floyd’s cause of death.
Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, died last Monday shortly after being arrested for a non-violent act in Minneapolis. Video of the arrest shows white police officer Derek Chauvin with his knee on Floyd’s neck as Floyd says he can’t breathe and pleads for help. Chauvin has been fired and arrested.
The Hennepin County medical examiner’s office has released its report after doctors hired by Floyd’s family released the results from an independent autopsy. The findings are quite different.
According to TMZ, the medical examiner claims Floyd was on drugs and died from a heart attack while being arrested. The report says he had fentanyl in his system and there were signs of past methamphetamine use. His manner of death is listed as homicide.
Floyd’s family took action after a criminal complaint against Chauvin did not list asphyxiation or strangulation as his cause of death. The family hired Dr. Michael Baden, known for his work on the O.J. Simpson, Jeffrey Epstein and Eric Garner cases, to conduct an independent autopsy.
In a press conference, livestreamed by TMZ, Dr. Baden said the cause of death was “asphyxia due to compression of the neck… which can interfere with blood flow and oxygen to the brain, and compression to the back, which can interfere with breathing. He later added, “That is homicidal and that will be in the final report.”
He explained that in cases like these, the crime scene as well as the autopsy are used to determine the cause of death, adding that he believes Floyd died about four or five minutes after a knee was placed on his neck. Chauvin had his knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes.
Floyd family attorney Ben Crump said they want Chauvin to be charged with first degree murder and for involved officers to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, saying, “They want equal justice.” Right now, Chauvin is facing a third degree murder charge.
According to The New York Times, the criminal complaint states that the Hennepin County medical examiner, “revealed no physical findings that support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxia or strangulation,” noting the victim suffered underlying health issues like coronary artery disease and hypertensive heart disease.
The complaint says the M.E. blames, “The combined effects of Mr. Floyd being restrained by the police, his underlying health conditions and any potential intoxicants in his system likely contributed to his death.”