Derek Chauvin trial: George Floyd’s coroner says police restraint ‘more than he could take’

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

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.

Check out The Independent’s live updates and analysis below.

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Hello and welcome toThe Independent’s rolling coverage of day ten of the Derek Chauvin trial.

James Crump9 April 2021 11:31

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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.

Read Josh Marcus’ full report here:

James Crump9 April 2021 11:55

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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.

Read Josh Marcus’ full report here:

James Crump9 April 2021 12:25

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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.

Read Josh Marcus’ full report here:

James Crump9 April 2021 13:00

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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.

Read Josh Marcus’ full report here:

James Crump9 April 2021 13:35

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Medical examiner to testify on Friday

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.

His 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.

James Crump9 April 2021 14:05

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Who are the leading prosecution and defence attorneys in Derek Chauvin trial?

The prosecution will continue its case in court on Friday, in the murder trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who has been charged with the death of unarmed Black man George Floyd.

Mr Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter and his trial is expected to last for several weeks.

But who is leading the prosecution and defence attorneys in Mr Chauvin’s trial?

Read Graeme Massie’s full report here:

James Crump9 April 2021 14:40

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George Clooney emailed George Floyd’s family’s lawyer advice for trial

George Clooney emailed George Floyd’s family’s lawyer advice about how to deal with the defence’s suggestion that a drug overdose caused Floyd’s death and not the actions 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 in May 2020, caused his death.

Benjamin Crump, the family’s lawyer, appeared on The View on Thursday to discuss the case, revealing that the Hollywood actor often emails him with support.

“‘Attorney Crump, you should tell them if Derek Chauvin feels so confident in that, he should volunteer during his case, to get down on the floor in that courtroom, and let somebody come and put their knee on his neck for 9 minutes and 29 seconds and be able to see if he can survive,’” Mr Crump said a recent email read.

A spokesperson for Clooney confirmed to Entertainment Tonight on Thursday that the actor sent the email to Mr Crump.

James Crump9 April 2021 15:15

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On the stand now: forensic pathologist Dr. Lindsey Thomas

The trial is now off to a start.

The first witness is Dr. Lindsey Thomas, a Minnesota-based forensic pathologist, serving as an expert witness for the state.

Today will continue yesterday’s focus on the medical evidence about what killed George Floyd. The most important witness in that category, the county medical examiner who conducted Mr Floyd’s autopsy, is expected to take the stand later today.

Josh Marcus9 April 2021 15:32

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The battle of the experts continues

We’ve now reached the “battle of the experts” stage of the trial, where the state and the defence are going back and forth trying to argue the medical evidence around George Floyd’s death goes their way.

Here are some of the biggest moments from yesterday’s proceedings, where a number of doctors argued Mr Floyd died from a lack air, not a heart attack or a drug overdose.

That supports the prosecution’s case that Derek Chauvin’s knee on Mr Floyd’s neck was what killed him.

Josh Marcus9 April 2021 15:38

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