Crime Cardiologist Testifies with ‘High Degree of Medical Certainty’ That George Floyd Did Not Die from Drug Overdose or ‘Cardiac Event’
Derek Chauvin trial: A week of emotional and potentially devastating testimony surrounding George Floyd's death
Pain, trauma and regret spilled out from a Minneapolis courtroom during a first week of critical testimony in the murder trial of Derek Chauvin, the former police officer who knelt on the neck of George Floyd. © Pool Minneapolis Police Lt. Richard Zimmerman said Chauvin's actions after Floyd was handcuffed and in a prone position were "uncalled for" and "totally unnecessary." The week concluded with potentially devastating testimony from the police department's most senior officer, who called Chauvin's actions on the day of Floyd's death "totally unnecessary.
Undermining the pillars of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin’s legal defense, a cardiologist called by the prosecution delivered testimony on Monday that ruled out the two alternative explanations offered for George Floyd’s death.
“I can state with a high degree of medical certainty that George Floyd did not die from a cardiac event and he did not die from an overdose,” Dr. Jonathan Rich, a cardiologist at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, declared on the witness stand.
That emphatic testimony fell hours after Chauvin’s lawyer Eric Nelson, which he claimed to have been necessary after a Minnesota police officer killed an unarmed Black man during the trial. Nelson unsuccessfully argued sequestration would be necessary to shield jurors from Black Lives Matter protests that erupted after a police officer shot and killed 20-year-old Daunte Wright during a traffic stop. Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill denied that request, continuing witness testimony that would prove damaging for the defense.
Minneapolis officers line up to reject Chauvin's actions
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The parade of Minneapolis police officers rejecting a former officer’s actions in restraining George Floyd continued at his murder trial, including a use-of-force instructor who said officers were coached to “stay away from the neck when possible.” Lt. Johnny Mercil on Tuesday became the latest member of the Minneapolis force to take the stand as part of an effort by prosecutors to dismantle the argument that Derek Chauvin was doing what he was trained to do when he put his knee on George Floyd’s neck last May.
Adding to the list of medical authorities backing up the prosecution’s case—andthe defense’s theories—Rich testified that he agreed to deliver unpaid testimony based on his review of medical records in order to “make a meaningful contribution to the medical field.”
– State’s final medical expert has taken the stand. Dr. Jonathan Rich, Cardiologist. He says this is his first time testifying in court.
— Cathy Russon (@cathyrusson)
Rich acknowledged Floyd suffered from hypertension, anxiety, and substance abuse, but he testified that none of these caused the man’s death.
“I see no evidence at all that a fentanyl overdose caused Floyd’s death,” Rich told the jury.
Medical witnesses clash with defense over George Floyd's death
Medical personnel from various backgrounds have testified in Derek Chauvin's trial, painting a grave picture of George Floyd's last moments. Paramedics found Floyd had no pulse upon arriving at the scene, and a respiratory expert said even a healthy person would have died under the restraints Chauvin used on Floyd.
“I believe that Mr. George Floyd’s death was absolutely preventable,” he added later.
Rich testified that in his opinion, Floyd’s cause of death was cardiopulmonary arrest caused by low oxygen levels. Echoing the testimony of prior medical experts, Rich testified that Floyd’s oxygen levels “were induced by the prone restraint and positional asphyxia that he was subjected to.”
– Dr. Rich testifies in his opinion died from: cardiopulmonary arrest, caused by low oxygen levels that were induced by the prone restraint and position asphyxia that he was subjected to.
— Cathy Russon (@cathyrusson)
All the jurors were attentive and took notes during these responses.
Dr. Rich’s courtroom statements come on the heels of medical testimony from pulmonologist Dr. Martin Tobin. Last week, Dr. Tobinof the effect on breathing that a knee to the neck would cause.
Key takeaways from 2nd week of Derek Chauvin trial in the death of George Floyd
The second week of Derek Chauvin's high-profile trial wrapped up on Friday with testimony from the medical examiner who conducted George Floyd's autopsy. Officials said the former Minneapolis officer violated police policies in how he arrested and detained the 46-year-old Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25.
“Using a shoulder to try and get a breath in” Tobin explained, “you have to realize that a shoulder is a really ineffective way of breathing because at that stage the chest is all so expanded. It’s a very poor way of breathing but it’s what you have to do when everything else is failing. You will call on the shoulder to try and breathe.”
Tobin later instructed the jury to inspect their own necks with their index fingers and thumbs in order “to understand the knee on the neck.”
Tobin explained that Chauvin had been applying intermittent pressure to Floyd’s neck, which would in turn, cause intermittent oxygen deprivation. Floyd did not suffer a seizure or immediate heart attack because he and Chauvin frequently changed their positions. Tobin continued, however, to explain that a photograph shows Chauvin’s knee exerting significant pressure more or less directly on Floyd’s hypopharynx. Tobin estimated that the officer’s combined weight was akin to breathing through a drinking straw, but “much worse” due to the “level of narrowing” of the hypopharynx when Chauvin’s knee was on Floyd’s neck.
Prosecution case nears end in ex-cop's trial in Floyd death
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The trial of a former Minneapolis police officer charged in George Floyd 's death enters its third week Monday, with the state nearing the end of a case built on searing witness accounts, official rejections of the neck restraint and expert testimony attributing Floyd's death to a lack of oxygen. Derek Chauvin, 45, who is white, is charged with murder and manslaughter in Floyd’s May 25 death. Police were called to a neighborhood market where Floyd, who was Black, was accused of trying to pass a counterfeit bill.
“All of his body weight is being directed down at Mr. Floyd’s neck,” Tobin said, noting that many calculations excluded the weight of Chauvin’s shin and boot. “91.5 pounds is coming down directly onto Mr. Floyd’s neck.”
“The leg is crucial here,” testified Tobin, calling it the cause of “major league oxygen damage.”
Law&Crime founder Dan Abrams has otherwisethe defense strategy of shifting blame onto bystanders who witnessed Floyd’s fateful arrest.
“The defense’s pursuit of this claim that he was distracted is dangerous as a legal matter,” Abrams argued. “Why? Because you’re basically saying ‘I may have kept my knee on this man’s neck and may have potentially killed him because I was distracted.’ What kind of legal defense is that? It just doesn’t hold water.”
[screengrab via Law&Crime]
The postfirst appeared on .
EXPLAINER: Why is 'excited delirium' cited at Chauvin trial? .
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The attorney for the former Minneapolis police officer on trial in George Floyd ’s death revisited the disputed concept of excited delirium Tuesday in an effort to show that the force Derek Chauvin used was objectively reasonable given Floyd's resistance. Chauvin, 45, who is white, is charged with murder and manslaughter. Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, was arrested outside a neighborhood market on May 25, accused of trying to pass a counterfeit $20 bill. A panicky-sounding Floyd struggled and claimed to be claustrophobic as police tried to put him in a squad car.