Attorneys for George Floyd’s family released the results of an independent autopsy report Monday showing 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.
The family’s attorney, Ben Crump, announced the autopsy results during an afternoon news conference. Crump said the autopsy found the compression cut off blood to Floyd’s brain, and weight on his back made it hard to breathe.
The family’s autopsy differed from the official autopsy as described in a criminal complaint against the officer accused of killing Floyd. That autopsy included the effects of being restrained, along with underlying health issues and potential intoxicants in Floyd’s system, but also found nothing “to support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxia or strangulation.”
Forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Baden was one of two doctors hired by the Floyd family to conduct an independent review after prosecutors said a preliminary finding from the official autopsy concluded the combined effects of being restrained, potential intoxicants in Floyd’s system and his underlying health issues, including heart disease, likely contributed to his death.
A video showing a white officer was kneeling on Floyd’s neck for eight minutes before his death has sparked national riots in major cities from San Francisco to Boston.
Baden has conducted other independent reviews in similar cases of police brutality including that of Eric Garner, a black man who was placed in a chokehold by New York police who were attempting to arrest him for selling loose cigarettes and would not relent even as he pleaded that he could not breathe.
Baden, also a Fox News contributor, traveled to Minneapolis over the weekend to conduct his review, alongside forensic pathologist Dr. Allecia Wilson, even as thousands of protesters nationwide took to the streets to condemn police brutality.
Video taken of Floyd’s arrest over a suspected counterfeit $20 bill shows former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, 44, kneeling on Floyd’s neck for eight minutes, 46 seconds, including nearly three minutes after Floyd stopped moving and talking.
Floyd fell to the ground as police were attempting to put him in the squad car, saying he was claustrophobic, according to the complaint.
Floyd can be heard on video saying “I can’t breathe,” numerous times.
Chauvin was arrested on Friday and charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter and is in custody in state prison. Three other officers who stood by and watched the incident unfold without intervening were fired the day after the incident but have not been arrested or charged in the case despite cries from the community for swift legal action.
Another layer in the case was revealed on Sunday after Crump said Chauvin must have known Floyd before the incident that resulted in his death because the two worked a nightclub together as recently as last year, its former owner said.
The club owner said she was unsure if Chauvin and Floyd knew each other while they both worked at the same venue.
“[Floyd’s] family has been notified by the owner of a club that Derek Chauvin was an off-duty police officer while George Floyd was a security guard. And so they had to overlap,” Crump said on CBS News’ “Face The Nation.” “That is going to be an interesting aspect to this case and hopefully upgrading these charges to first-degree murder because we believe he knew who George Floyd was.”