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Independent Autopsy Results in Death of George Floyd

June 1, 2020

George Floyd’s death was due to asphyxia from sustained forceful pressure, independent medical examiners determine

Lead Attorney Ben Crump, legal team, and family of George Floyd call for arrest of all officers and Chauvin to be charged with first-degree murder

Attorney Ben Crump, co-counsels, and the family of George Floyd today called for the arrest of all the officers who played a part in Floyd’s death and for a first-degree murder charge to be brought against Derek Chauvin, after independent medical examiners who conducted an autopsy of Floyd Sunday determined that asphyxiation from sustained pressure was the cause of death.

World renowned medical examiner Dr. Michael Baden and Dr. Allecia Wilson found the manner of Mr. Floyd’s death was homicide caused by asphyxia due to neck and back compression that led to a lack of blood flow to the brain. Sustained pressure on the right side of Mr. Floyd’s carotid artery impeded blood flow to the brain, and weight on his back impeded his ability to breathe. The independent examiners found that weight on the back, handcuffs and positioning were contributory factors because they impaired the ability of Mr. Floyd’s diaphragm to function. From all the evidence, the doctors said it now appears Mr. Floyd died at the scene.

“What we found is consistent with what people saw. There is no other health issue that could cause or contribute to the death,” Dr. Baden said. “Police have this false impression that if you can talk, you can breathe. That’s not true.”

“For George Floyd, the ambulance was his hearse. 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,” said lead attorney Crump. “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.”

Co-counsel Antonio Romanucci of Romanucci & Blandin LLC, said that while it was Chauvin’s knee that pressed into Mr. Floyd’s neck, it was the culture of the Minneapolis Police Department that was legally responsible for his death.

“The City of Minneapolis clearly had a pattern, custom and practice of failing to train and discipline its police officers, creating a culture of impunity allowing them to treat people of color as lesser human beings, unworthy of basic respect.”

Crump said Chauvin’s use of neck pressure for at least eight minutes -- including multiple minutes after Floyd said he couldn’t breathe and after witnesses and a paramedic expressed concern for his health and safety -- constitutes premeditation and warrants a first-degree murder charge. Chauvin knew his continued pressure on Mr. Floyd’s body would cause death, Crump said.

“For Chauvin to leave his knee on George’s neck despite warnings and evidence that his life was in danger -- and to continue that course for many minutes -- demands a first degree murder charge,” Crump said. “What we know is this: George Floyd was alive before his encounter with Derek Chauvin and his fellow officers, and he was dead shortly after that. The tragic cause of this death is incredibly clear, and we are fiercely committed to justice for his family.”

Crump, the family, and the other members of the legal team called on protestors to continue to raise their voices but refrain from the violence and looting.

“On behalf of the family that we understand the righteous anger we see playing out on streets across the country. We support the activism and energy of the people who want to make sure we achieve change, and we hope those efforts continue, Crump said. “But looting and violence are absolutely unacceptable. They were unacceptable to George, and they must be unacceptable to us. The way to honor George is to achieve justice. As a country, we need to take a deep breath. George Floyd wasn't allowed that, but we must. We have a team of top legal minds who are not going to stop until there's justice for George Floyd and his family.”

The legal team, which includes Ben Crump Law as lead counsel, Romanucci & Blandin LLC, Newmark Storms Dworak, Pintas and Mullins, and Jacob Litigation, last week filed a petition to bring a wrongful death lawsuit. 

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