George Floyd died of asphyxia, private autopsy finds

George Floyd died of asphyxia, finds autopsy ordered by family of black man whose death in Minneapolis sparked riots.

The attorney for George Floyd's family, Benjamin Crump, said hat an independent autopsy "determined that asphyxiation from sustained pressure  was the cause" of Floyd's death in an incident that has sparked tense protests and violence across the nation.

Dr. Michael Baden and Dr. Allecia Wilson performed the autopsy and said there was "neck and back compression that led to a lack of blood flow to the brain," according to Crump's statement. They added that "weight on the back, handcuffs and positioning were contributory factors because they impaired the ability of Mr. Floyd’s diaphragm to function."

George died because he needed a breath, Crump said during a Monday afternoon news conference. I implore all of us to take a breath for justice, to take a breath for peace, to take a breath for our country and to take a breath for George.
Dr. Michael Baden
Baden and Wilson said it appeared that Floyd died at the scene of the incident.

What we found is consistent with what people saw, Baden said. There is no other health issue that could cause or contribute to the death. Police have this false impression that if you can talk, you can breathe. That’s not true.

The announcement came one week after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on Floyd's neck for several minutes while Floyd, 46, was handcuffed, crying that he couldn't breathe and pleading for help. 

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 two additional officers kneeling on him. Mr. Floyd’s death was a homicide by officers who taunted him while holding him down for more than eight minutes. And the officer who stood by doing nothing was a physical blue shield – a living symbol of the code of silence.

Bystanders, who begged officers on the scene to intervene, recorded Floyd's death on video and shared the images on social media. After they went viral, Floyd's death sparked a week of protests in Minneapolis and most major U.S. cities.

A preliminary autopsy report released last week indicated that the combined effects of being restrained, potential intoxicants in Floyd’s system and his underlying health issues, including heart disease, probably contributed to his death. 

Toxicology results can take weeks.

Floyd was taken into custody under the suspicion of trying to use a forged $20 bill.

The criminal complaint noted that the medical examiner’s report was preliminary but that the autopsy “revealed no physical findings that support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxia or strangulation.”

Derek Chauvin, the Minneapolis police officer who knelt on Floyd's neck, was charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter. He is in custody in a state prison. 

Three other officers who were on the scene have not been detained or charged with any crimes. All four officers were fired the day after Floyd's death.

George Floyd died May 25, 2020, after a Minneapolis police officer held his knee on Floyd's neck for several minutes.

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