Contrary to a preliminary report, a private autopsy report has found that George Floyd died not just because of the knee lodged at his neck by a white ex-police officer, but also because of the other officers who helped hold him down.
An initial autopsy conducted by the Hennepin County Medical Examiner had said Mr Floyd died of coronary artery disease, hypertensive heart disease and possible intoxicants lodged in his system.
“The combined effects of Mr. Floyd being restrained by the police, his underlying health conditions and any potential intoxicants in his system likely contributed to his death,” the earlier autopsy read.
This differs substantially from the findings of a private autopsy commissioned by Mr Floyd’s family and conducted by Allecia Wilson of the University of Michigan and Michael Baden, a former New York City medical examiner.
The autopsy found that Mr Floyd died from asphyxiation caused by sustained neck and back compression that led to a lack of blood flow to his brain, Washington Post wrote.
“The autopsy shows that Mr Floyd had no underlying medical problem that caused or contributed to his death. This is confirmed by information provided to Dr. Wilson and myself by the family.” Mr Baden said.
Mr Wilson described the manner of death as homicide at a news conference Monday.
Also, the family’s lead lawyer, Benjamin Crump, said emergency medical records showed Mr Floyd was dead at the scene.
“For George Floyd, the ambulance was his hearse,” Mr Crump said in a statement.
The knee to his back compressed his lungs and prevented them from being able to take air in and out, he said.
He further called for the arrest of all other officers who played a role in Mr Floyd’s death. One of the officers, Derek Chauvin, had been charged, and his court hearing has been adjourned to June 6. The other three have been fired.
But Mr Crump asked that a first-degree murder charge to be brought against Mr Chauvin for pinning Mr Floyd’s neck to the ground for nearly nine minutes as seen in a viral video shared on social media.
Mr Floyd, 46, was in that video seen cuffed, his neck pinned to the ground by three policemen, his nose bleeding as he gasped for breath. The fourth officer stood close by to wade of bystanders.
Minutes later, Mr Floyd laid motionless, his eyes shut, as he foamed from the mouth before an ambulance arrived. He was declared dead at a hospital shortly afterwards, CNN reported.
Angst has spiked across the United States since then as many protesters and critics see the third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter charges against former officer Derek Chauvin as soft.
For this reason, several cities across the U.S. have been besieged with crowds who defied curfews to march in solidarity against police brutality and racism.
The cities have also seen vandalism, looting and chaos as a church close to the White was torched before the fire was eventually put out on Sunday.
Local report by CNN estimated that over 4,000 arrests, as well as dozens of injuries by protesters, police officers and journalists, and about five deaths have been recorded.
In some states, face off between the demonstrators and the police have turned brutal, while elsewhere like Michigan, the police reached a truce, joining the procession of agitators to calm nerves.
More than 17,000 National Guard members have been deployed to support the police in quelling the nationwide civil unrest. This is approximately the same number of active duty troops deployed in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan, according to CNN.
The protests against police brutality and racism have spilled over to other countries. Hundreds of protesters gathered in Trafalgar Square in central London on Sunday afternoon and marched toward the United States Embassy. Protests also took place in Germany, New Zealand and Denmark.
Microblogging site Twitter on its part changed it’s bird logo to black, with the caption “black lives matter”.
Racism does not adhere to social distancing.
Amid the already growing fear and uncertainty around the pandemic, this week has again brought attention to something perhaps more pervasive: the long-standing racism and injustices faced by Black and Brown people on a daily basis. 🧵 pic.twitter.com/8zKPlDnacY
— Twitter Together (@TwitterTogether) May 29, 2020
President Donald Trump, who some have criticized for not addressing the country and holing up in the White House, said through spokesperson Kayleigh McEnany that statements “don’t stop anarchy.”
“What I would note is continual statements as he’s made day and day again — they don’t stop anarchy,” CNN quoted Ms McEnany saying. “What stops anarchy is action. And that’s what the President is working on right now for the anarchists.”
The cause of Mr Floyd’s death remains pending as it is being investigated by local, state and federal law enforcement, the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office said in a statement.
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