MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The attorney representing George Floyd’s family says the findings of an independent autopsy have determined that Floyd died of asphyxiation from sustained pressure. However, the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s final autopsy report contains more information from toxicology reports.
According to a statement, attorney Ben Crump revealed the results of the autopsy performed by medical examiners Dr. Michael Baden and Dr. Allecia Wilson, and called for charges against fired MPD officer Derek Chauvin to be amended to first-degree murder.
Crump said that the independent autopsy determined that “sustained pressure on the right side of Floyd’s carotid artery impeded blood flow to the brain, and weight on his back impeded his ability to breathe.”
He added that the two medical examiners determined that having handcuffs on and his position impaired the ability for his diaphragm to function. They also said it appears he died at the scene.
“What we found is consistent with what people saw. There is no other health issue that could cause of contribute to the death. Police have this false impression that if you can talk, you can breathe. That’s not true,” Baden said.
Crump also called for the other three officers involved in the incident to also be arrested.
The doctors who completed the independent autopsy say they recognize toxicology reports and other medical information are needed for a final report.
The Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s office says that the manner of death is homicide, and listed as the cause of death cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint and neck compression. Their report also listed other significant conditions, including arteriosclerotic and hypertensive heart disease, fentanyl intoxication and recent use of methamphetamine.
The county medical examiner added to their report the following: “Manner of death classification is a statutory function of the medical examiner, as part of death certification for purposes of vital statistics and public health. Manner of death is not a legal determination of culpability or intent, and should not be used to usurp the judicial process. Such decisions are outside the scope of the Medical Examiner’s role or authority.”
Floyd died on Memorial Day following an encounter with Minneapolis police. Cellphone video of his arrest showed Derek Chauvin kneeling on his neck for several minutes as he pleaded for help, telling Chauvin and other officers he couldn’t breathe.
In the days after the incident, Chauvin was fired from the police department and charged with murder and manslaughter. The other three officers involved in Floyd’s death have not been charged, although Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said last week that more charges are expected.
Per the criminal complaint against Chauvin, Floyd did not die of traumatic asphyxia or strangulation. According to the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office, Floyd’s death was the result of being “restrained by the police, his underlying health conditions and any potential intoxicants in his system.”
Floyd’s death sparked protests in Minneapolis and across the country, prompting a nationwide discussion about race and policing in America. Crump said he and Floyd’s family call on protesters to continue speaking out, but to always refrain from looting and violence.
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