An independent autopsy conducted at the request of George Floyd’s family found he died as a direct result of the pressure placed on his body by the three Minneapolis police officers on the scene, coming in direct conflict with part of the preliminary findings of the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s office last week.
The attorneys representing George Floyd’s family on Monday announced details of an independent autopsy, with third-party pathologists finding that the knees to his back and neck caused Floyd’s May 25 death.
Even though there was “no harm to his trachea,” Floyd attorney Benjamin Crump said, the pressure placed on his body by all of the officers—and not just Derek Chauvin—caused Floyd’s death.
The independent autopsy was requested after Floyd’s family rejected the preliminary findings of the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s office last week.
Forensic scientist Dr. Michael Baden said that Floyd had no underlying medical problem that caused or contributed to his death.
“Unfortunately many police are under the impression that if you can talk you are breathing, that is not true,” he said.
Allecia Wilson, director of autopsy and forensic pathology at the University of Michigan, noted that her findings indicate;
“Mechanical asphyxia as the cause of death and homicide as the manner of death…Second autopsies do have their limitations as we are not seeing the tissues in their original state, but with that acknowledgment, we feel those items will not change or alter the primary cause of death was mechanical asphyxia.”
Floyd family attorney Benjamin Crump and co-counsel Antonio Romanucci laid out of the findings of Baden, who was retained by the family to conduct the independent autopsy.
The Monday afternoon virtual press conference highlighted causes behind Floyd’s May 25 death while in Minneapolis police custody.
Minneapolis health officials previously said that Floyd was unable to breathe even before he was pinned down.
Baden said the compressive pressure on Floyd’s back were not visible during the time of autopsy because such pressure had been released and can only been seen when the pressure is being applied.
“In this instance, it was captured on video. A little bit less than four minutes [into the video] Mr. Floyd was motionless, lifeless and received no CPR at that time … but later did not respond to cardiac shock,
“Asphyxia due to compression of the neck” cutting off blood flow to Floyd’s brain and neck directly caused his death, Baden added.
“He would be alive today if not for the pressure applied to his neck by fired office Derek Chauvin and the strain on his body from the two additional officers kneeing him in his back,” Crump said Monday at the press conference.
“Not only was the knee on George’s neck a cause of his death but so was the weight of the other two police officers on his back, who not only prevented blood flow into his brain, but also airflow into his lungs. That makes all of those officers on the scene criminally liable and without a doubt, civilly responsible.” co-counsel Romanucci added.
Crump rebuked the preliminary findings of the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s office last week.
The findings indicated a three-fold likely cause of death: Floyd’s “underlying health conditions” including coronary artery disease, Chauvin’s excessive knee pressure on his neck and the possibility he had intoxicating substances in his bloodstream at the time of his arrest.
Prosecutors who reviewed the initial autopsy findings wrote in the criminal complaint against Chauvin that he was unable to breathe prior to his fatal restraint by the four officers.
“While standing outside the car, Mr. Floyd began saying and repeating that he could not breathe,” the criminal complaint against Chauvin said. It described how the four officers restrained Floyd as he continued to say “I can’t breathe,” “Mama” and “please.”
“George died because he needed a breath of air,” Crump said Monday.