(nbcnews) – The independent autopsy commissioned by Floyd’s family contradicts a county examination.
Attorney Benjamin Crump addresses the National Association of Black Journalists on Aug. 3, 2018, in Detroit.Carlos Osorio / AP fileJune 1, 2020, 4:37 PM ASTBy David K. Li
Police officers, pressing on George Floyd’s neck and body, cut blood and air flow to the Minneapolis man’s brain, causing him to die by mechanical asphyxia, pathologists hired by the family said Monday.
Floyd’s death, which was videotaped by passersby last week, led to the arrest of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin and set off protests across the nation.
“He couldn’t breathe — asphyxia due to compression to the neck and the back,” Dr. Michael Baden, the former chief medical examiner of New York City, told reporters in a video conference. “That’s homicidal.”
The report differs from that of the county medical examiner, which said there was no evidence of asphyxia, according to a criminal complaint filed last week in Chauvin’s arrest.
Floyd had no other medical conditions that contributed to his death while in Minneapolis police custody, the pathologists said.
“The autopsy shows that Mr. Floyd had no underlying medical problems that caused or contributed to his death,” Baden said. “He was in good health.”
Floyd had been handcuffed during an investigation of a suspicious $20 bill that had been passed at a nearby store. Floyd ended up face down with Chauvin’s knee apparently digging into his neck for nearly nine minutes, as the man pleaded: “I can’t breathe.”
“For George Floyd, the ambulance was his hearse,” family attorney Benjamin Crump 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.”
In a criminal complaint filed last week in Chauvin’s arrest, Hennepin County prosecutors said Floyd had coronary artery and hypertensive heart disease and “the combined effects of Mr. Floyd being restrained by the police, his underlying health conditions and any potential intoxicants in his system likely contributed to his death.”