Chauvin trial: Another expert says lack of oxygen killed Floyd

Dr. Andrew Baker Hennepin County Medical Examiner

Mr Chauvin, 45, is charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter and third-degree manslaughter.

Chauvin, who is white, was recorded in multiple videos kneeling for more than nine minutes on the neck of Floyd as the 46-year-old Black man, in handcuffs, begged for his life in a fading voice.

Thomas blamed Floyd's death on the way he was pinned to the ground by police, restricting his breathing.

Tobin dismissed any suggestion that fentanyl in Floyd's system led to his death, saying that based on his calculations, Floyd's respiratory rate before he lost consciousness would have been much lower if this was the case. Floyd's death prompted protests against racism and police brutality in many cities in the United States and around the world.

"No, I don't know how this case is going to go", she said, reiterating she hasn't talked to anyone about the trial.

Thomas said she had performed more than 5,000 autopsies during her career.

On the death certificate, Baker cited "cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression" as the cause of Floyd's death.

But Baker reiterated he stood by the cause of death he wrote on Floyd's death certificate and his finding Floyd's death was a homicide, which to a medical examiner means his death was caused by another person and does not necessarily indicate guilt.

The autopsy itself ruled out heart attack, aneurysm, COVID-19 and other factors, and Thomas said it was not a drug overdose death, either.

Thomas said any blockage over 70 percent to 75 percent could be used to explain death, in the absence of another cause.

But the document also provides information about other conditions that contributed to, but didn't cause, the death.

Since then, the defence has argued that the fentanyl caused Mr Floyd's loss of oxygen.

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The cause of Floyd's death is a central element in Chauvin's high-profile trial being held in a heavily guarded Minneapolis courtroom.

"A healthy person subjected to what Mr Floyd was subjected to would have died", Dr Tobin said.

"There's no evidence", she later added, "to suggest he would have died that night except for the interactions with law enforcement". Officers can be heard on video telling Floyd that if he can talk, he can breathe.

Nelson has also said Floyd may have been overdosing on fentanyl when he died, airing the theory that Floyd put drugs in his mouth when police approached him. While a death by hanging is a type of asphyxial death, she explained, she wouldn't say "asphyxia due to hanging" - she'd just say "hanging".

Daniel Isenschmid, a toxicologist who had tested Mr Floyd's blood samples after his death, said the amount of methamphetamine in the deceased's blood was similar to levels a doctor would expect to see in a patient after taking a single dose of the drug in a prescribed form for attention-deficit disorder.

"In that very narrow set of circumstances, I would probably conclude that the cause of death was his heart disease", Thomas replied. No police involvement, no drugs.

But during re-questioning, prosecutor Jerry Blackwell ridiculed the defense attorney's hypotheticals and quickly got Thomas to repeat that the cause of Floyd's death was the restraint by police.

"Now, you were asked quite a few questions about Mr. Floyd's preexisting health conditions?" the prosecution asked. "Lincoln, if we take John Wilkes Booth out of this ...,'" Blackwell began, before Nelson objected.

For the first time, a seat designated for Chauvin's family was occupied Friday, by a woman.

A 19-year veteran of the Minneapolis Police Department, Chauvin was sacked from the force after Floyd's death.

Also on Friday, Judge Peter Cahill called in a juror and questioned her about whether she had been subject to any outside influences.

Thomas and the jury reviewed photos of Floyd's injuries, including those she described as "superficial injuries" to his face, shoulders and wrists that support what she saw in the videos of his death: that Floyd was trying to push his body into a position where he could breathe.

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