Independent autopsy: George Floyd died of asphyxia due to neck, back pressure

George Perry Floyd died on May 25, 2020. An independent autopsy on his body was conducted by Dr. Michael Baden and Dr. Alecia Wilson on May 31, 2020.

According to the preliminary findings from the autopsy, Floyd died of asphyxia due to neck and back pressure, which interfered with his breathing and blood flow to the brain. The weight on his back, handcuffs and positioning during his arrest also impaired his ability to breathe, the findings revealed.

An employee at Cup Foods at 3759 Chicago Avenue in Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States called the Minneapolis Police Department to report a customer who was trying to buy cigarettes with a fake $20 bill on May 25, 2020. Floyd matched the suspect’s description so he was arrested by former cops Derek Michael Chauvin, 44, Thomas Lane, 37, Tou Thao, 34 and J. Alexander Kueng, 26.

Videos of the fatal arrest showed how Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck for a total of 8 minutes and 46 seconds. Lane and Kueng helped pinned Floyd to the ground by holding the unarmed and handcuffed arrestee’s legs and back, respectively, while Thao was watching and interacting with the eyewitnesses.

Floyd died at the scene and there was no other obvious cause of death, Baden and Wilson concluded. The doctors added that the cause of death was consistent with what was shown on the videos of the fatal arrest.

The doctors found hemorrhage over the vertebral bodies and in the cervical region of Floyd’s body, in his wrists and forearms and on the outside of the carotid artery at the level of C3, C4 and C5. His lungs were neither congested nor infected and there were no issues with his liver, spleen, intestines and kidneys, the autopsy found.

“Later information will not change cause of death but will be informative,” Baden and Wilson stated. “The toxicology findings are helpful in understanding the circumstances of death but are not a cause or contributing cause of death.”

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