Defence expert testifies George Floyd died from heart disease, exhaust fumes

Lawrence Kim
April 15, 2021

He also testified that Floyd suffered a "sudden cardiac event".

And he said that Floyd did not complain of vision changes or other symptoms consistent with hypoxia, or insufficient oxygen to the brain, and that he was coherent until shortly before he suddenly stopped moving.

Fowler, who is the former Maryland Chief Medical Examiner, said that a death should be classified as undetermined "when you have so many conflicting different potential mechanisms of death that could lead to the manner is not clear".

Eric Nelson, Chauvin's lead lawyer, spent many minutes asking Fowler to describe the toxins found in vehicle exhaust and how it can kill people even in an outdoor area.

Fowler appeared to dispute the findings of the Hennepin County medical examiner, who ruled Floyd's death a homicide caused by police restraining Floyd in a way that starved his body of oxygen.

Chauvin is charged with second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the killing of Floyd last spring. The video of Floyd gasping that he couldn't breathe as bystanders yelled at Chauvin to get off him triggered worldwide protests, violence and a furious examination of racism and policing in the U.S.

"I felt that Derek Chauvin was justified and acting with objective reasonableness following Minneapolis Police Department policy and current standards of law enforcement in his interactions with Mr. Floyd", Brodd said.

Nelson has argued that Floyd more likely died of a drug overdose and chronic health problems, including heart disease, than from anything his client did on May 25.

Prosecutors previously told jurors that Chauvin knelt on Floyd and did not relent or provide medical attention even though Floyd was breathless and without a pulse for almost five minutes.

Those experts agreed with the findings on Floyd's death certificate, saying he was killed because he was unable to inhale sufficient oxygen due to the way police compressed his prone body against the road. Dr Baker, the chief medical examiner who certified Mr Floyd's death, told the jury he stands by his findings.

"You haven't seen any data or test results that showed Mr. Floyd had a single injury from carbon monoxide".

Visitors browse a memorial to George Floyd as a new addition commemorating Daunte Wright is displayed outside Cup Foods in Minneapolis.

In his original testimony, Fowler said carbon monoxide could have contributed to oxygen depletion in Floyd, noting that he was facing the tailpipe end of a squad vehicle. Mr. Kelly added that the trial has been all about George Floyd, and Derek Chauvin has not been humanized at all.

During cross-examination, prosecuting attorney Jerry Blackwell attempted to poke holes in Fowler's assessment.

"As a physician, I would agree", Fowler replied.

"Are you critical of the fact that he wasn't given immediate medical care when he went into cardiac arrest?"

The question of what is reasonable is important: Police officers are allowed certain latitude to use deadly force when someone puts the officer or other people in danger.

In December, Fowler was sued in federal court by the family of Anton Black, who was 19 when he died after police pinned him facedown on the ground for several minutes as he cried out for his mother. Fowler denied using the phrase, and in doing so, introduced the time gap between cardiac arrest and death.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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