An independent autopsy performed on the body of George Floyd determined that he died of “asphyxiation from sustained pressure” when former Minneapolis policeman Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck while apprehending him.
In a statement released by Benjamin Crump, the lead attorney representing Floyd’s family, two forensic specialists, Dr. Michael Baden and Dr. Allecia Wilson determined that his death was a homicide that was caused by “neck and back compression that led to a lack of blood flow to the brain.”
Those findings contradict the preliminary findings of the Hennepin County Medical Examiner which said Floyd’s death was caused by a combination of police restraint and underlying health conditions including coronary artery disease and heart disease.
But the doctors said it was clear that what killed him was the restraint procedure performed by Chauvin and the other officers who were on video at the scene taking him into custody. Chauvin was shown kneeling on his neck for nearly nine minutes before he lost consciousness. He begged to be allowed to breathe through the entire incident.
In subsequently released video, other officers are also shown kneeling on other parts of his body.
“What we found is consistent with what people saw. There is no health issue that could cause or contribute to the death,” said Baden. “Police have this false impression that if you can talk, you can breathe. That’s not true.”
Chauvin, along with the other three officers, Thomas Lane, Tou Thao and J. Alexander Kueng were all fired. Chauvin was charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter and is being held on $500,000 bond. The other three have not been charged yet.
“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. “Mr. Floyd’s death was a homicide by officers who taunted him while holding him down for more than eight minutes.”
Crump and Floyd’s family have called for the murder charges to be upgraded.
Minnesota attorney general Keith Ellison was chosen by Gov. Tim Walz on Sunday (May 31) to lead the prosecution of the case.
Floyd’s death has sparked nationwide protests and calls for justice not only for him, but for others who have been the victims of police violence like Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky who was killed in a botched drug raid, and Ahmaud Arbery, who died after being suspected by two men in Brunswick, Georgia of being a burglar.