Family-ordered autopsy: George Floyd died of asphyxia due to sustained pressure
(FOX 9) - Attorney Ben Crump, who represents the family of George Floyd, held a news conference Monday sharing the results of the separate autopsy the team had called for earlier in the week.
An additional autopsy was conducted after the family said that the Hennepin County Medical Examiner's findings "do not address in detail the effect of the purposeful use of force on Mr. Floyd's neck and the extent of Mr. Floyd's suffering at the hands of police."
Crump said the autopsy determined that asphyxia from sustained pressure was the cause of death.
"The ambulance was a hearse," he said. "From all apparent evidence, George was dead at the scene."
"This was the lowest level of human respect dignity that any community should ever have to endure," co-counsel Antonio Romanucci added. Romanucci said both the pressure of the officer's knee and the weight of the other officers directly led to Floyd's death.
He said these actions "not only prevented blood flow to the brain and airflow to the lungs. That makes all of those officers on scene criminally liable and without a doubt civilly responsible [...] a grade school child understands the basics that if you continue to choke a human being, that you will end a life."
"In the legal world, we describe this very simply, it's called the 'but for' event. But for the sustained pressure on his neck and on his back, George Floyd would be alive. That choke at that pressure, which we know is an illegal maneuver, turned into deadly force," Romanucci added.
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In the preliminary findings from the Hennepin County Medical Examiner's Office, it was determined that Floyd likely died from a combination of underlying health conditions, being restrained by police, and any potential intoxicants in his system. There was reportedly no physical evidence that he died of asphyxia of strangulation.
The additional autopsy was conducted by Dr. Michael Baden and Dr. Allecia Wilson in Minneapolis. Years ago, Dr. Baden was asked to conduct a second autopsy for Eric Garner.
"Unfortunately, many police are under the belief that if you can talk, that means you can breathe," Dr. Baden said. "That is not the case."
Attorney Crump also took a moment to reflect on the violence that has taken place over the last week.
"On behalf of the family, we understand the righteous anger we are seeing play out on our streets across the country. We support the activism and energy of the people who want to make sure we effect change. We hope these efforts continue, but the violence is absolutely unacceptable," he said.