MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota (KETK) – An autopsy commissioned for George Floyd’s family found that Floyd died of asphyxiation due to neck and back compression when a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck for several minutes and ignored his cries of distress, the Floyd family’s attorneys said Monday.
The autopsy by a doctor who also examined Eric Garner’s body found the compression cut off blood to Floyd’s brain, and weight on his back made it hard to breathe.
The family’s autopsy differs from the official autopsy as described in a criminal complaint against the officer.
That autopsy included the effects of being restrained, along with underlying health issues and potential intoxicants in Floyd’s system, but also said it found nothing “to support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxia or strangulation.”
But forensic pathologist Michael Baden, who also performed an autopsy on Garner – who died after being put in a choke hold by a New York police officer – says Floyd died from what everyone saw in that video – an officer kneeling on his back and neck.
“Each of us has concluded that on the basis of all the information available, the cause of death is what was seen at the time of death,” said Baden. “He couldn’t breathe, asphyxia due to compression of the neck and the back, and that’s homicidal.”
“But for the sustained pressure on his neck and on his back, George Floyd would be alive,” said Antonio Romanucci, a Floyd family attorney. “That’s the simple premise here.”
“The knee to the back and the knees to the neck both contributed to him not being able to get breath,” said Ben Crump, also an attorney for the Floyd family. “And what those officers did that we see on the video is the cause of his death, not some underlying unknown health condition. George Floyd was a healthy young man. We see in the video he was walking, breathing, he was alive.
“His cause of death medically was mechanical asphyxiation,” said Crump. “The legal determination is homicide.”
Floyd, a black man who was in handcuffs at the time, died after the white officer ignored bystander shouts to get off him and Floyd’s cries that he couldn’t breathe.
His death, captured on cellphone video by a bystander, has sparked days of protests, some of them turning to violence, across the country.