Independent autopsy finds George Floyd died of asphyxia

4 min read
Sister of black man who died after police filmed kneeling on his neck speaks out

Former NYC medical examiner is conducting examination.

An independent autopsy ordered by George Floyd’s family found his homicide was “caused by asphyxia due to neck and back compression that led to a lack of blood flow to the brain,” according to early findings from the examination released Monday.

The independent examiners found that weight on the back, handcuffs and positioning were contributory factors because they impaired the ability of Floyd’s diaphragm to function, according to the report.

Dr. Michael Baden and the University of Michigan Medical School’s director of autopsy and forensic services, Dr. Allecia Wilson, handled the examination, according to family attorney Ben Crump.

Baden, who was New York’s medical examiner in 1978 and 1979, had previously performed independent autopsies on Eric Garner, who was killed by a police officer in Staten Island, New York, in 2014 and Michael Brown, who was shot by officers in Ferguson, Missouri, that same year.

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter after he was videotaped putting his knee on Floyd’s neck during an arrest on May 25, prosecutors said. Floyd was heard saying “I can’t breathe,” while the officer had him pinned for nearly nine minutes, according to the criminal complaint.

Three other officers who were involved in the arrest have been fired but haven’t been charged as of Monday afternoon.

The complaint said the official examination of Floyd’s body by the medical examiner is still ongoing, but prosecutors provided some information about this death. This is separate from the independent autopsy requested by Floyd’s family.

The medical examiner initial findings revealed no physical findings that support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxia or strangulation, according to the complaint. Floyd had underlying health conditions including coronary artery disease and hypertensive heart disease, the complaint said.

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