Protests and demonstrations were held across the country as thousands of people reacted to the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police on May 25.
After an official autopsy from the Hennepin County Medical Examiner suggested that Floyd’s death was the result of being restrained in combination with underlying health issues, his family’s attorney has released the results of a private autopsy, according to USA Today.
Benjamin Crump, the family’s attorney, announced that the independent autopsy “determined that asphyxiation from sustained pressure was the cause” of Floyd’s death after Derek Chauvin, a since-fired Minneapolis police officer, applied pressure to Floyd’s neck as he laid on the ground for more than eight minutes. Floyd was unconscious for nearly three of those minutes.
“For George Floyd, the ambulance was his hearse,” Crump said. “Beyond question, he would be alive today if not for the pressure applied to his neck by fired officer Derek Chauvin and the strain on his body from two additional officers kneeling on him. Mr. Floyd’s death was a homicide by officers who taunted him while holding him down for more than eight minutes. And the officer who stood by doing nothing was a physical blue shield – a living symbol of the code of silence.”
Dr. Michael Baden and Dr. Allecia Wilson performed the autopsy and they determined there was “neck and back compression that led to a lack of blood flow to the brain,” according to Crump’s statement. They went on to say that “weight on the back, handcuffs and positioning were contributory factors because they impaired the ability of Mr. Floyd’s diaphragm to function.”
To further contradict claims made in the initial autopsy, Baden stated that Floyd likely died at the scene of his arrest.
“What we found is consistent with what people saw,” Baden said. “There is no other health issue that could cause or contribute to the death. Police have this false impression that if you can talk, you can breathe. That’s not true.”
The incident was captured on video by passersby who witnessed four Minneapolis police officers arrest and restrain Floyd. He was taken into custody under suspicion of using a fake $20 bill.
As of this writing, Derek Chauvin is the only of the four officers who were on the scene to have been arrested, though they were all fired the following day.
Protests and riots have since been started throughout major cities across the U.S. for days in connection to Floyd’s death as citizens express their frustrations.