An independent autopsy conducted by two pathologists determined George Floyd, the man who died at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer last week and whose death sparked protests and riots across the nation, ultimately died of asphyxia and back compression - a finding that flies in the face of earlier claims made by local officials.
According to the Floyd family’s lawyers, the latest autopsy, commissioned by the family, determined the 46-year-old man died from “asphyxia due to neck and back compression” that cut off the blood flow to his brain. Drs. Michael Baden and Allecia Wilson determined Floyd's death was caused by sustained pressure on his neck, which impeded blood flow to the brain, while the weight on his back restricted his ability to breathe.
In their conclusion, Baden and Wilson determined Floyd's death was a homicide.
The new findings conflict with charging documents against the officer accused of murdering Floyd, which had stated Floyd's death wasn’t due to asphyxia, but rather from “underlying health conditions including coronary artery disease and hypertensive heart disease" and potential intoxicants in his system, which were allegedly exacerbated by Minnesota police officer Derek Chauvin pinning him to the ground. That initial autopsy, conducted by the Hennepin County Medical Examiner's Office, “revealed no physical findings that support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxia or strangulation,” according to the documents.
The video ignited protests and riots across the country shows Chauvin pinning Floyd to the ground with a knee on the back of his neck for nine minutes. In the footage, a weeping Floyd repeatedly complains that he can’t breathe. After he eventually passed out and became unresponsive, Chauvin continued to leave his knee in place on the back of Floyd's neck.
EMTs finally arrived at the scene and Floyd was taken by ambulance to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.