MINNEAPOLIS – An autopsy commissioned by George Floyd’s family determined that “asphyxiation from sustained pressure was the cause” of Floyd’s death in an incident that has sparked tense protests and violence across the nation.
Dr. Michael Baden and Dr. Allecia Wilson performed the autopsy and said there was “neck and back compression that led to a lack of blood flow to the brain,” Floyd family attorney Benjamin Crump said Monday.
They added that “weight on the back, handcuffs and positioning were contributory factors because they impaired the ability of Mr. Floyd’s diaphragm to function.”
Floyd, 46, died May 25 after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on Floyd’s neck for several minutes while he was handcuffed on the ground, crying that he couldn’t breathe and pleading for help.
he results of the family’s autopsy differ from a preliminary autopsy report as described in a criminal complaint against the officer charged in Floyd’s death, Derek Chauvin, which was released last week.
That autopsy found “no physical findings that support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxia or strangulation,” according to the document, which suggests Floyd’s existing health conditions – coronary artery disease and hypertensive heart disease – combined with being restrained by police and any “potential intoxicants in his system” contributed to his death.
Baden and Wilson said it appeared that Floyd died at the scene of the incident.
“What we found is consistent with what people saw,” Baden said. “There is no other health issue that could cause or contribute to the death. Police have this false impression that if you can talk, you can breathe. That’s not true.”
Crump had strong words for the incident Monday.
“For George Floyd, the ambulance was his hearse,” he said. “Beyond question, he would be alive today if not for the pressure applied to his neck by fired officer Derek Chauvin and the strain on his body from two additional officers kneeling on him. Mr. Floyd’s death was a homicide by officers who taunted him while holding him down for more than eight minutes. And the officer who stood by doing nothing was a physical blue shield – a living symbol of the code of silence.”