VANESSA ROMO, NPR
An independent autopsy released Monday concludes that George Floyd was asphyxiated by officer Derek Chauvin, who pinned the black man to the ground by pressing a knee into his neck for more than seven minutes while he was already restrained in handcuffs.
The findings contradict a preliminary report by the Hennepin County medical examiner’s office that says Floyd, 46, was not strangled but died from a combination of factors including “underlying health conditions and any potential intoxicants in his system.”
That report also says there were “no physical findings that support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxia or strangulation.”
“George died because he needed a breath, a breath of air,” Floyd family attorney Ben Crump said during a news conference Monday. “For George Floyd, the ambulance was his hearse.”
Crump then called for the arrest of all the officers who played a part in Floyd’s death and for first-degree murder charges to be brought against Chauvin.
Medical examiners Dr. Michael Baden and Dr. Allecia Wilson, who were hired by the family, said sustained pressure impeded blood flow to the brain and Chauvin’s weight on Floyd’s back impeded his ability to breathe.
“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.
He added: “What we know is this: George Floyd was alive before his encounter with Derek Chauvin and fellow officers and he was dead shortly after that. The tragic cause of his death is incredibly clear.”
The new findings come after six days of angry protests have cascaded across the U.S., leading to violent confrontations between law enforcement and demonstrators and journalists.
Floyd’s younger brother, Terence Floyd, spoke out against the chaos erupting in cities all over the country, calling for an end to the destruction. He also urged protesters to express their rage and dissatisfaction at the voting booth.
“Educate yourself and know who you’re voting for. And that’s how we’re going to hit them,” he said. “There’s a lot of us. … It’s a lot of us,” he shouted emotionally.
“Let’s switch up. Let’s do this peacefully, please,” he pleaded.