The preliminary autopsy results of George Floyd found no evidence that he died of asphyxiation or strangulation, according to the criminal complaint filed against former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who is accused of kneeling on Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes.
Floyd’s family has now hired forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Baden to perform a second, independent autopsy, Baden confirmed to Fox News.
Baden, who formerly was New York City’s chief medical examiner, said he was set to travel to Minneapolis on Saturday and announce his findings next week.
Chauvin, 44, was arrested and charged Friday with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
The case, which grew out of an arrest over suspicion of Floyd trying to buy merchandise with a counterfeit $20 bill, became a national flashpoint after video of Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck circulated on social media.
Derek Chauvin, former Minneapolis police officer, has been charged with 3rd-degree murder and manslaughter in the killing of George Floyd. pic.twitter.com/Xg6fvFBeEn
— UberFacts (@UberFacts) May 29, 2020
His death has sparked protests across the United States this week, which in many cases have turned into riots.
According to the criminal complaint against Chauvin, Floyd fell to the ground when police sought to get him into a squad car.
“The officers made several attempts to get Mr. Floyd in the backseat of squad 320 from the driver’s side,” the complaint said. “Mr. Floyd did not voluntarily get in the car and struggled with the officers by intentionally falling down, saying he was not going in the car, and refusing to stand still.”
“While standing outside the car, Mr. Floyd began saying and repeating that he could not breathe,” the complaint added, saying that Chauvin “went to the passenger side and tried to get Mr. Floyd into the car from that side” with help from other officers.
Chauvin “pulled Mr. Floyd out of the passenger side of the squad car at 8:19:38 p.m. and Mr. Floyd went to the ground face down and still handcuffed,” it said.
While other officers held his back and legs, the complaint said Chauvin “placed his left knee in the area of Mr. Floyd’s head and neck.”
“Mr. Floyd said, ‘I can’t ‘breathe’ multiple times and repeatedly said, ‘Mama’ and ‘please’ as well,” the complaint said, later adding: “The officers said, ‘You are talking fine.'”
After several minutes, when officers could not find a pulse on Floyd, Chauvin “removed his knee from Mr. Floyd’s neck,” according to the complaint.
The complaint noted: “The Hennepin County Medical Examiner (ME) conducted Mr. Floyd’s autopsy on May 26 , 2020. The full report of the ME is pending but the ME has made the following preliminary findings.
“The autopsy revealed no physical findings that support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxia or strangulation.”
The complaint then cited other possible reasons Floyd died.
“Mr. Floyd had underlying health conditions including coronary artery disease and hypertensive heart disease. 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,” it said.
“The defendant had his knee on Mr. Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds in total. Two minutes and 53 seconds of this was after Mr. Floyd was non-responsive. Police are trained that this type of restraint with a subject in a prone position is inherently dangerous.”
Ben Crump and S. Lee Merritt, attorneys for Floyd’s family, said a second autopsy was needed, recalling the 2014 death of Eric Garner, who was put in a chokehold by New York City police and later died. Baden performed an autopsy in the Garner case.
“We saw in the Eric Garner case, and so many other cases where they have people who work with the city workers come up with things that are such an illusion — he had asthma, he had a heart condition — all these things that are irrelevant when they were living, breathing, walking, talking, just fine until the police accosted them,” Crump said at a news conference, according to ABC News.
Crump framed the case as an example of what he claimed is a national climate of racism.
“We have been dealing with the pandemic of racism and discrimination for far too long,” he said.
“It is a pandemic, a national pandemic, we cannot keep looking at this regionally, this is affecting all African-Americans, this a state of emergency.
“If we don’t address this in the next month or two we will see another senseless, unjustifiable killing of an African-American at the hands by people who are police or pretend to be police,” Crump added.
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