The results of an independent autopsy into the death of George Floyd have been released
One week ago, 46-year-old George Floyd died after Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck for just shy of nine minutes. And on Monday, an independent autopsy ordered by George Floyd’s family found that Floyd’s death was “caused by asphyxia due to neck and back compression that led to a lack of blood flow to the brain.”
Dr. Michael Baden and the University of Michigan Medical School’s director of autopsy and forensic services, Dr. Allecia Wilson — who completed the external investigation — detailed in their report that “weight on the back, handcuffs and positioning were contributory factors because they impaired the ability of Mr. Floyd’s diaphragm to function.”
They also indicated that it appeared Floyd died at the scene of the crime. “What we found is consistent with what people saw. There is no other health issue that could cause or contribute to the death. Police have this false impression that if you can talk, you can breathe. That’s not true,” Baden said.
Benjamin Crump, attorney for Floyd’s family, underscored that “sustained pressure” was to blame for Floyd’s tragic passing.
“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 Crump.
Baden was asked if doctors can determine how long it took Mr. Floyd to die. He replied, “I counted from the time the video started, which was a few seconds apparently after Mr. Floyd was pushed to the ground and the knee put on the neck. The count’s about three minutes and 50 seconds between the time he’s on the ground and the time he becomes motionless. At the time passers by, the persons — the civilians who were watching and photographing — yelled out that he was dying, that he was lifeless, that he should be permitted to get up,” he said. “That he’s dying, that he’s going to be dead. From the moment at 3 minutes-and-plus-seconds, he was motionless, he had no evidence of breathing, struggling, and remained that way for another four or five minutes with a knee on his neck until the EMS people arrived and found no pulse.”
Baden says, “He had a cardiac arrest. They tried CPR. They tried a shock to the heart. Nothing worked. He did not recover. In my opinion, he was dead after about four or five minutes. He was pronounced dead sometime later when he gets to the hospital.”
A preliminary report released by the Minneapolis coroner on Friday conversely suggested Floyd’s death was due to the “combined effect of Floyd being restrained by the police, his underlying health conditions, [and] any potential intoxicants in his system.” The report also stated that Chauvin had his knee on Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. For two minutes and 53 seconds of that time, Floyd was “non-responsive.”
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