An independent autopsy into the death of George Floyd has found he died from “asphyxiation from sustained pressure” to both his neck and back, the family’s lawyer said today.
The findings differ from those proposed by the Hennepin County in a Criminal Complaint against white police officer Derek Chauvin.
The complaint suggested Floyd may have been killed by a number of things, including underlying conditions, after he was knelt on for nine minutes while being arrested.
Mr Floyd was “dead on the scene” as he lay on the street in Minneapolis on May 25, with Floyd’s family lawyer Ben Crump telling reporters “the ambulance was his hearse”.
The Hennepin County Medical Examiner reported there were “no physical findings” to “support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxia or strangulation” according to the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office’s Criminal Complaint of third degree murder against Chauvin.
Mr Floyd, an African-American man, died after Chauvin knelt on his neck while he was handcuffed on the ground. Two other officers were kneeling on My Floyd’s back while another looked on.
Chauvin had his knee on Mr Floyd’s neck for a total 8 minutes and 46 seconds, according to his own body camera, and for two minutes and 53 seconds Mr Floyd was unresponsive according to the criminal complaint.
During the shocking incident, which was caught on film, Mr Floyd pleaded for his life, repeatedly saying “I can’t breathe”.
The horrific incident immediately sparked outrage in the US and has led to seven days and nights of protests, fires, looting and burning of public buildings as people call for justice for Mr Floyd.
The anger has become so intense that President Donald Trump has reportedly been hiding in a bunker at the White House as his security is compromised.
The criminal complaint filed by the County also cited preliminary toxicology results, and said Mr Floyd died from the combined effects of being restrained, as well as “underlying health issues”.
The complaint argues heart disease contributed to his health. According to CNN, toxicology results take weeks. Mr Floyd died one week ago.
“George died because he needed a breath. He needed a breath of air,” Mr Crump said.
Chauvin has been charged with third degree murder, or depraved heart murder, and second degree manslaughter for the killing.
Depraved heart murder is an usual charge, that implies a person behaved in a reckless or cruel way, with a “depraved heart” causing death. It does not imply intent.
The three other officers have not been charged over the killing.