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Medical examiner releases autopsy report on George Floyd, differs from family's independent autopsy

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Posted at 6:09 PM, Jun 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-04 19:09:05-04

Two autopsies have been conducted on the body of George Floyd, with different results.

However, both agree that the man died, at least in part, because of what police did to him in the minutes before that death, and both agree the death was a homicide.

Floyd is the man who died on a Minnesota street with a police officer's knee on his neck. The video of him saying he can't breathe, and calling for his dead mother, has sparked protests and rallies around the world.

Because of the circumstances, the family of George Floyd had their own autopsy conducted by a two forensic experts. That report lists "asphyxiation from sustained pressure" as the cause of Floyd's death. It states that neck and back compression led to a lack of blood flow to the brain.

The family's autopsy notes that the knee on Floyd's neck wasn't the only reason he couldn't breathe: because he was handcuffed behind his back and someone was kneeling on his back, his diaphragm couldn't function properly.

The Hennepin County Medical Examiner's autopsy report states that Floyd died of "cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression."

The Medical Examiner's office said it found "no physical findings" to "support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxia or strangulation," according to a criminal complaint released by the Hennepin County Attorney's Office on Friday.

"Cardiopulmonary arrest" means your heart stopped. Technically, everyone dies because their heart stops. Several states do not allow "cardiopulmonary arrest" as a cause of death on death certificates, instead requiring more precise reasons such as Acute Myocardial Infarct (heart attack), etc.

For instance, the Mississippi Department of Health guidance for county officials says the cause of death "should be the final disease or complication directly causing the death. This condition should not just indicate the mode of dying, which merely attests to the fact of death and is not specifically related to the disease process," and gives cardiopulmonary arrest as an example of "the mode of dying."

The Hennepin County Medical Examiner's autopsy also noted that Floyd had tested positive for COVID-19 on April 3 - he died on May 25 - and that he was still testing positive at the time of the autopsy. The report said that the autopsy result likely reflects an asymptomatic but persistent positive from the virus.

The Medical Examiner's autopsy also showed that Floyd had a number blunt-force injuries, including to the shoulders, hands, elbows and legs. The report indicated a number of contusions to the head and neck.

The report also states he had high blood pressure, hardening of the arteries, and and an enlarged heart.

Finally, the Medical Examiner's autopsy indicated that Floyd had cannabinoids, fentanyl metabolites and methamphetamines in his system at the time of death. There also was evidence he had smoked a tobacco cigarette and ingested some kind of caffiene around the time he died.

And, the report indicates a long notation saying that his blood indicates he was probably had sickle cell trait, but did not indicate he had sickle cell anemia.

Derek Chauvin, the officer whose knee was on Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes as Floyd died, has been charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao, who were either kneeling on other parts of Floyd's body or watching, now all face charges of aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.

here's the link to the Hennepin county report: https://www.hennepin.us/-/media/hennepinus/residents/public-safety/documents/Autopsy_2020-3700_Floyd.pdf

The family autopsy is here:

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