07.10.2022

Key witness to testify, as Chavin trial hears Floyd died because he couldn’t breathe

Hennepin County Medical Examiner Dr Andrew Baker is expected to testify today in the murder trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.

Dr Baker is the only person who performed an autopsy on George Floyd, following his death in May 2020 in the custody of Mr Chauvin and three other Minneapolis officers.

The former officer faces two murder charges after he knelt on Mr Floyd’s back for more than nine minutes during the arrest for a counterfeit $20 bill nearly 12 months ago.

Dr Baker’s testimony will come a day after two major witnesses for the state testified in court on Thursday that Mr Floyd died when Mr Chauvin kneeled on his neck until he couldn’t breathe.

“Mr Floyd died of positional asphyxia, which is a fancy way of saying he died because he had no oxygen in his body,” said Dr Bill Smock, a forensic medical specialist and police training doctor.

“When the body is deprived of oxygen, in this case from pressure on his chest and back, he gradually succumbed  to lower and lower levels of oxygen until it was gone and he died,” he added.

Earlier in the day, Dr Martin Tobin, a lung specialist, reached a similar conclusion on the stand.

“Mr Floyd died from a low level of oxygen,” he said. “It’s like the left side is in a vice. It’s totally being totally pushed in, squeezed in from each side,” he added.

The jury is set to reconvene at 9:15am CT (3:15 UK) on Friday, as the prosecution continues to state its case.

George Floyd ‘died from a low level of oxygen’ and had 90lbs of weight on his neck, doctor testifies

George Floyd died because his lungs weren’t able to get enough air, impairing the brain and causing his heart to stop, a lung expert testified in the Derek Chauvin murder trial on Thursday.

“Mr Floyd died from a low level of oxygen,” testified Dr Martin Tobin, a lung expert and ICU doctor from Loyola University called by the state. “The cause of the low level of oxygen was shallow breathing, small breaths, small tidal volume, shallow breaths that weren’t able to carry the air through his lungs.”

In addition to compressing Mr Floyd’s lungs, Mr Chauvin also reduced the amount of air that could come in through a passage in the bottom of the throat called the hypopharynx by kneeling on Mr Floyd’s neck, the lung doctor testified.

According to the doctor’s testimony, Mr Chauvin had an estimated ninety pounds of pressure on Mr Floyd’s neck at times.

George Floyd died ‘because he had no oxygen in his body’, second medical expert says

George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, died when former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on his neck until he couldn’t breathe.

That’s the unequivocal conclusion from two major witnesses for the state who testified in Mr Chauvin’s murder trial in Minneapolis on Thursday.

The former officer faces two murder charges after he knelt on Mr Floyd’s back for more than nine minutes during an arrest for a counterfeit $20 bill.

“Mr Floyd died of positional asphyxia, which is a fancy way of saying he died because he had no oxygen in his body,” said Dr Bill Smock, a forensic medical specialist and police training doctor.

“When the body is deprived of oxygen, in this case from pressure on his chest and back, he gradually succumbed  to lower and lower levels of oxygen until it was gone and he died,” he added.

Lung specialist says George Floyd died from low levels of oxygen

A lung expert who testified on behalf of the state on Thursday in the murder trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, said that George Floyd died from low levels of oxygen.

The defence has argued drugs, rather than Mr Chauvin’s knee being pressed into Mr Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes during the arrest in May 2020, caused his death.

However, Dr Martin Tobin, an ICU doctor and lung expert from Loyola University, testified on Thursday that Mr Floyd appeared to die of a lack of oxygen, as video footage did not bear the signs of a drug death.

“Mr Floyd died from a low level of oxygen,” he said. “It’s like the left side is in a vice. It’s totally being totally pushed in, squeezed in from each side,” he added.

Fentanyl wasn’t what slowed George Floyd’s breathing

Fentanyl in his body didn’t play a role in slowing George Floyd’s breathing before he ultimately died, a lung expert testified on Thursday in the murder trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.

The defence has argued drugs, rather than Mr Chauvin’s knee being pressed into Mr Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes during the arrest, caused his death.

According to Dr Martin Tobin, an ICU doctor and lung expert from Loyola University who testified on behalf of the state, video evidence of the arrest didn’t suggest fentanyl was affecting Mr Floyd’s breathing.

“It tells you that there isn’t fentanyl on board that is affecting his respiratory centres,” Dr Tobin said. (Mr Tobin did not perform an autopsy of Mr Floyd and based his opinions instead on clinical experience.)

Fentanyl, Mr Tobin explained, is a powerful opioid that can slow the breathing rate, but Mr Floyd continued to take breaths at a normal clip before passing out about five minutes into his detention on the ground.

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