George Floyd’s heart problems and drug use are not the “direct causes” of his death, which was caused by the violence of his arrest, the medical examiner who performed his autopsy said on the stand on Friday (April 9th).
At the end of the second week of the trial of white police officer Derek Chauvin, accused of murder, this testimony contradicts the theory put forward by the officer’s defense.
The immobilization imposed by the police and the compression of his neck was “too strong to bear for George Floyd, given his heart condition,” Andrew Baker told the Minneapolis court, which tried Derek Chauvin, a 45-year-old white police officer. He is accused of killing George Floyd on May 25, 2020, by holding his knee on his victim’s neck for nearly ten minutes to prevent him from struggling.
George Floyd had repeatedly shouted“I can’t breathe” at the three police officers who held him lying on his stomach on the asphalt, his hands cuffed behind his back, pressing on his back, neck, and ribs.
For the prosecution, this pressure caused the death of George Floyd, who gradually fell unconscious due to lack of oxygen before his death. The scene, filmed live by passers-by, went around the world and provoked a huge wave of anger against racism and police violence around the world.
The 40-year-old with a larger build had a larger-than-normal heart due to high blood pressure, Baker said. “His heart needed more oxygen and he had a limited ability to accelerate his rhythm” because his coronary arteries were narrowed, he said.
Physical stress and pain” will trigger stress hormones, adrenaline will push your heart to beat faster to get more oxygen,” he said. But George Floyd’s heart dropped, unable to sustain this rhythm and lacking oxygen.
No trace of Covid-19
Derek Chauvin’s lawyer, Eric Nelson, argues that his client did not cause the 40-year-old’s death and that he died of an overdose combined with heart problems. It relies on the presence of fentanyl, a powerful opiate, and methamphetamine, a stimulant, discovered during the autopsy. Fentanyl use can also cause a lack of oxygen by complicating breathing.
Andrew Baker acknowledged that methamphetamine speeded up the heart rate, but noted that a very small amount of the drug had been detected. He also denied the defense’s claim that George Floyd was diminished after being infected with the coronavirus. “His lungs had no stigma of Covid,” he said.
Facing Eric Nelson, he said he had not found any trace of pressure on George Floyd’s back. But the doctor confirmed that the death was a homicide, that is, in medical terms” when someone’s actions are involved in the death of an individual.”
Previously, jurors had viewed photographs of George Floyd’s swollen face, shoulders, and hands taken during the autopsy. These photos were put back in envelopes, the family being afraid of not supporting them. George Floyd’s brother, Rodney, remained impassive as he looked at one of these photos at length. “It’s hard, it’s hard,” George Floyd’s sister Bridgett told the News Site The Shade Room. But“when this trial is over and Derek (Chauvin) is found guilty, we will have got justice for all the families” who were unable to get it for their loved ones, she said.
For the first time since the debate began two weeks ago, the seat reserved for the former policeman’s relatives was occupied on Friday by an unidentified woman. The trial is scheduled to resume on Monday with the prosecution’s final witnesses. The debates are expected to last another week. The verdict is not expected until the end of April. Derek Chauvin faces up to 40 years in prison. The three other police officers involved in George Floyd’s death will also be tried for complicity in murder in August.