An independent autopsy of George Floyd, who died Monday in Minneapolis police custody, concluded his death was a homicide.
The autopsy, commissioned by Floyd’s family, reported that Floyd “died of asphyxia due to neck and back compression that cut off blood flow to his brain,” according to Benjamin Crump, an attorney for Floyd’s family.
The 46-year-old Floyd died after Minneapolis cop Derek Michael Chauvin pressed his knee on the back of the neck of a handcuffed Floyd, causing him to suffocate. Floyd repeatedly told Chauvin, a 19-year department veteran with a long list of citizen complaints, he could not breathe. Observers who filmed his death also complained to Chauvin that Floyd was having trouble breathing to no avail.
Chauvin had his knee on the back of Floyd’s neck for a total of 8 minutes and 46 seconds. Two minutes and 53 seconds of this time was after Floyd was non-responsive. Floyd was lying face down on the sidewalk with hands cuffed behind his back. “Police are trained that this type of restraint with a subject in a prone position is inherently dangerous,” the medical examiner’s office said in its Statement of Probable Cause.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey fired Chauvin and three other officers involved in Floyd’s violent arrest. Only Chauvin has been arrested and charged with a crime. He has been charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
The independent autopsy report bolstered Floyd’s family’s demands that police charge all four cops with first-degree murder.
The independent autopsy results are different from the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s preliminary findings, which reported “no physical findings that support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxia or strangulation.”
The medical examiner’s report said Floyd suffered from underlying coronary disease and hypertensive heart disease.
“The combined effects of Mr. Floyd being restrained by police, his underlying health conditions, and any potential intoxicants in his system likely contributed to his death,” the medical examiner concluded.
Crump said Floyd died from “asphyxia from sustained forceful pressure. The medical examiner reported Chauvin had his knee on Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. Statement of Probable Cause.