Sat | Jul 4, 2020

Family autopsy: Floyd asphyxiated by sustained pressure

Published:Monday | June 1, 2020 | 4:03 PM
This May 31, 2020 photo provided by the Hennepin County Sheriff shows Derek Chauvin, who was arrested Friday, May 29, in the Memorial Day death of George Floyd. (Hennepin County Sheriff via AP)

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — An autopsy commissioned for George Floyd’s family found that he died of asphyxiation due to neck and back compression when a Minneapolis police officer held his knee on his neck until he stopped breathing, ignoring his cries of distress, the family’s attorneys said Monday.

The autopsy by a doctor who also examined Eric Garner’s body found the compression cut off blood to Floyd’s brain, and weight on his back made it hard to breathe, attorney Ben Crump said.

He called for the third-degree murder charge against Officer Derek Chauvin to be upgraded to first-degree murder and for three other officers to be charged.

The family’s autopsy differs from the official autopsy as described in a criminal complaint against the officer.

That autopsy included the effects of being restrained, along with underlying health issues and potential intoxicants in Floyd’s system, but also said it found nothing “to support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxia or strangulation.”

Floyd, a black man who was in handcuffs at the time, died after Chauvin, who is white, ignored bystander shouts to get off him and Floyd’s cries that he couldn’t breathe.

His death, captured on citizen video, sparked days of protests in Minneapolis that have spread to cities around America.

The official autopsy last week provided no other details about intoxicants, and toxicology results can take weeks.

Follow The Gleaner on Twitter and Instagram @JamaicaGleaner and on Facebook @GleanerJamaica. Send us a message on WhatsApp at 1-876-499-0169 or email us at onlinefeedback@gleanerjm.com or editors@gleanerjm.com.