George Floyd tested positive for the new coronavirus (COVID-19) on April 3, 2020. Authorities have yet to comment on the possibility of former Minneapolis Police Department officers Derek Michael Chauvin, 44, Tou Nmn Thao, 34, J Alexander Kueng, 26, and Thomas Kiernan Lane, 37, being positive for the virus, as well.
At 9:25 a.m. on May 26, 2020, the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office conducted an autopsy for Floyd with Andrew M. Baker, M.D., as the pathologist. The results were released on June 3, 2020 with the permission of Floyd’s family.
A nasal swab coronavirus test was performed during the autopsy. It came back as positive.
“The decedent was known to be positive for 2019-nCoV RNA on 4/3/2020,” the pathologist noted. “Since PCR positivity for 2019-nCoV RNA can persist for weeks after the onset and resolution of clinical disease, the autopsy result most likely reflects asymptomatic but persistent PCR positivity from previous infection.”
According to the report, Floyd’s lungs appeared healthy but he had some narrowing of arteries in the heart. He had multifocal, severe arteriosclerotic heart disease and hypertensive heart disease, the report indicated.
Floyd became unresponsive while being restrained by Chauvin, Lane and Kueng during a fatal arrest on May 25, 2020 based on the autopsy report. The arrestee received emergency medical care in the field and subsequently in the Hennepin HealthCare (HHC) Emergency Department but he could not be resuscitated and was declared dead at 9:25 p.m. that night.
On May 31, 2020, Dr. Michael Baden and Dr. Alecia Wilson conducted an independent autopsy and the preliminary findings revealed that 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.
On May 25, 2020, 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 . Floyd matched the suspect’s description so he was arrested by Lane, Kueng, Chauvina and Thou.
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’s death overshadowed the issues surrounding the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S. Police officers across the country are busy dealing with protests and looting incidents.