George Floyd died of a homicide caused by asphyxia due to compression on his neck and back, his family’s independent autopsy decided.
The private exam was conducted by former New York City Medical Examiner Dr. Michael Baden and Dr. Allecia Wilson with the University of Michigan.
“The evidence is consistent with mechanical asphyxia as the cause of death and homicide as the manner of death,” Dr. Wilson said at a press conference Monday.
“The autopsy shows that Mr. Floyd had no underlying medical problem that caused or contributed to his death,” Baden said.
“He was in good health,” Baden continued. “The compressive pressure of the neck and back are not seen at autopsy because the pressure is released by the time the body comes to the medical office. It can only be seen while pressure is being applied. In this instance, it is captured on video.”
Baden said Floyd did not respond to CPR or cardiac shock during his ambulance ride to a local hospital.
“Many people are under the impression that if you can talk, you’re breathing. That’s not true,” he said.
“George died because he needed a breath. He needed a breath of air,” family lawyer Benjamin Crump said as he stood alongside the doctors.
“For George Floyd, the ambulance was his hearse,” Crump said. “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 the two additional officers kneeing him in his back.”
Floyd, 46, died May 25 at the hands of a white Minneapolis Police officer who knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes amid an arrest.
The officer, Derek Chauvin, has been charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
Crump and his co-counsel Antonio Romanucci called for immediate criminal charges Monday against the three other officers on the scene.
Romanucci said the “deadly force” made “all the officers on the scene criminally liable and without a doubt civilly responsible.”
He called the death a “public execution.”
“A grade school child understands …that if you continue to choke a human being, you will end a life,” Romanucci said.
According to preliminary results released by the Hennepin County Medical Examiner, the initial physical autopsy did not find physical evidence of “traumatic asphyxia,” which is a difference of opinion with the family’s autopsy.
The preliminary county findings, first revealed in the criminal complaint against Chauvin, said Floyd’s death “likely” would be linked to the “effects of Mr. Floyd being restrained by police, his underlying health conditions and any potential intoxicants in his system.”
The complaint listed the underlying conditions as coronary artery disease and hypertensive heart disease.
At the press conference Monday, Baden, 85, said he disagreed with the finding that Floyd’s heart health played a role.
“In my coroanvirus-susceptible age group, that I wish I had the same coronary arteries that Mr. Floyd had, that we saw at the autopsy,” Baden said.
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