The medical examiner who performed the autopsy on George Floyd after last May's deadly arrest explained how he concluded the death was a homicide in testimony on Friday at former Minneapolis policeman Derek Chauvin's murder trial.
PROSECUTOR JERRY BLACKWELL: "You found then and do you stand by today that the manner of death for Mr. Floyd was, as you would call it, homicide?" HENNEPIN COUNTY CHIEF MEDICAL EXAMINER ANDREW BAKER: "Yes, I would still classify it as a homicide today." The medical examiner who performed the autopsy on George Floyd after his deadly arrest last year said he stood by his conclusion that the 46-year-old's death was a homicide at the hands of police.
BAKER: "My opinion remains unchanged.
It's what I put on the death certificate last June.
That's cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint and neck compression.
That was my top line then.
It would stay my top line now." Dr. Andrew Baker testified on Day 10 of Derek Chauvin's murder trial that Floyd's heart stopped beating and his lungs stopped working because the former Minneapolis policeman and other officers pinned him to the ground in a way that starved his body of oxygen.
DEFENSE ATTORNEY ERIC NELSON: "But you also took into consideration the heart disease, correct?" BAKER: "Yes." NELSON: "As well as the toxicology results.
Agreed?" BAKER: "Yes." In cross-examination, Chauvin's attorney Eric Nelson focused on the defense's central argument: that Floyd's underlying health problems and the drugs found in his system may have led to his death.
Baker said he noted Floyd's heart disease and the fentanyl and methamphetamine found in his blood on the death certificate because they may have played a role in the death, but he said they "were not direct causes." BLACKWELL: "Did you rule out 'drug overdose' as a cause of death?" FORENSIC PATHOLOGIST LINDSEY THOMAS: "Yes." Prosecutors sought to further dismantle Chauvin's central defense with testimony from Dr. Lindsey Thomas.
The forensic pathologist said the sheer volume of videos of Floyd's arrest made it clear that physical signs associated with opioid overdose were not present in Floyd's death.
THOMAS: "The point is that it's due to law enforcement subdual restraint and compression."