A second, independent autopsy has concluded that George Floyd’s death was homicide caused by asphyxiation (or suffocation) due to sustained pressure on his neck and back by Minneapolis police officers, according to Ben Crump, the lead attorney for George Floyd’s family, and his co-counsels.
This differs from the state’s version. Preliminary autopsy results by the state said that that being restrained, potential intoxicants in Floyd’s system, and his underlying health issues, including heart disease, probably contributed to Floyd’s death.
But the team of lawyers fighting for justice for George Floyd, including chief legal strategist Pintas & Mullins, stand by the second independent autopsy which showed that asphyxia due to sustained pressure to his neck was what caused his death.
Legal Team Pushes For Stronger Response
Floyd’s family is working with a team of lawyers, including Ben Crump as lead counsel, Pintas & Mullins as the chief legal strategist, Romanucci & Blandin LLC as associated trial counsel, and Newmark Storms Dworak and Jacob Litigation as co-counsels. They jointly filed a petition to bring a wrongful death lawsuit last week.
In a statement released to the media, the attorneys, along with the family, called for the arrest of all officers who were involved with George Floyd’s death. As of today, all four officers have been arrested. Derek Chauvin, the police officer who pressed his knee down on George Floyd’s neck, has been charged with murder. The other three officers present on the scene had also done nothing to stop Chauvin, who restrained Floyd in connection with a forgery allegation. They have now been charged with aiding and abetting murder.
All four officers who were on the scene have been fired by the Minneapolis Police Department. Minnesota Governor Tim Walz also announced a civil rights investigation by the state’s department of human rights into the Minneapolis Police Department, reviewing the department’s practices over the last 10 years.
Demands For an Upgraded Murder Charge
Floyd’s legal team has called for a first-degree murder charge to be brought against Chauvin, who is now facing a less serious second-degree murder charge. On June 3, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison upgraded the charge from the initial third-degree murder charge.
Minnesota laws defines third degree murder as causing death of person without intent to kill “by perpetrating an act eminently dangerous to others and evincing a depraved mind, without regard for human life.” A second-degree murder charge applied when there is an element of intention to the killing, but it is not premeditated.
In the press release, lead attorney Ben Crump said, “For Chauvin to leave his knee on George’s neck despite warnings and evidence that his life was in danger — and to continue that course for many minutes — demands a first-degree murder charge.” “What we know is this: George Floyd was alive before his encounter with Derek Chauvin and his fellow officers, and he was dead shortly after that. The tragic cause of this death is incredibly clear, and we are fiercely committed to justice for his family.”
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Medical Examiners Say Death is Homicide Caused by Asphyxia
The press release also gave further details about the mode of death. It said that medical examiners Dr. Michael Baden and Dr. Allecia Wilson had found that Floyd’s death was homicide caused by asphyxia due to neck and back compression that led to a lack of blood flow to the brain.
According to them, sustained pressure to the right side of the carotid artery had impeded blood flow to the brain, while the weight on his back prevented Floyd from breathing. They said that the weight on the back, handcuffs and positioning had all contributed to death by not allowing the victim’s diaphragm to function.
“What we found is consistent with what people saw. There is no other health issue that could cause or contribute to the death,” Dr. Baden said. “Police have this false impression that if you can talk, you can breathe. That’s not true.”
The doctors concluded that all the evidence indicated that Floyd died at the scene while held down by Chauvin.
Crump Calls For Peaceful Protests
Attorney Ben Crump urges protestors to continue raising their voices against the brutal killing and police injustice, but asks that they refrain from violence and looting.
Protestors across the country are demanding large-scale interventions to seek justice for George Floyd and to address the pervasive problem of the murder of black people at the hands of police.
George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis on May 25 has shaken this nation to its core. The images of a black man held down by the knee of a white police officer to his neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, as he cried out “I can’t breathe” enraged many. It has proved to be the last straw for a community severely oppressed by police brutality and racially-charged violence. Protests have erupted in major cities including Washington, D.C, New York and Chicago, the United States, and have escalated to large-scale rioting, violence and destruction of property in many areas.