Breaking News
0
Ad-Free Version. Upgrade your Investing.com experience. Save up to 40% More details

Defense expert testifies George Floyd died of heart disease, car exhaust fumes

WorldApr 14, 2021 09:07PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This article has already been saved in your Saved Items
 
3/3 © Reuters. Murder trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin 2/3

By Jonathan Allen

MINNEAPOLIS (Reuters) - A medical expert who testified in defense of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin told jurors on Wednesday he believed George Floyd's death while under arrest was the result of heart disease which made his heart beat erratically.

Dr. David Fowler, a forensic pathologist who was Maryland's chief medical examiner until his retirement in 2019, also told the jury he believed exhaust fumes from the police car next to which Chauvin pinned Floyd to the road may also have contributed to Floyd's death in May 2020.

Still, under cross-examination, Fowler agreed with a prosecutor who said Floyd should have been given immediate first aid when his heart stopped beating during the arrest, video of which sparked global protests against police brutality and racism.

Chauvin's central defense against murder and manslaughter charges has been to raise doubts about the cause of Floyd's death. Dr. Andrew Baker, Hennepin County's chief medical examiner, ruled the death a homicide last year caused by Chauvin and other officers restraining Floyd in a way that starved his body of oxygen.

Fowler, one of Chauvin's most important witnesses, disputed at least some of Baker's conclusions, telling the jury he believed the manner of death could be considered a homicide, but he would have instead ruled it "undecided."

Chauvin, who is white, was seen kneeling on Floyd's neck for nine minutes while Floyd, a Black man in handcuffs, pleaded for his life before going limp.

Fowler said Floyd's death was caused by his heart suddenly beating in an erratic way, known as sudden cardiac arrhythmia.

This was a result of his "atherosclerotic and hypertensive heart disease" during the police restraint, Fowler said, using medical terms to describe the narrowing of blood vessels and heart problems caused by high blood pressure.

Fowler said the way Floyd struggled with police trying to get him into their car may have caused stress that led to the sudden arrhythmia.

The fentanyl and methamphetamine found in Floyd's blood and carbon monoxide poisoning from the exhaust fumes of the adjacent police car may have contributed to the death, Fowler said.

Asked why Chauvin and other officers by the car were not harmed by carbon monoxide poisoning, Fowler replied that their heads were farther from the exhaust pipes than Floyd's, and "hopefully they're younger" than Floyd. At the time of Floyd's death, Chauvin was 44 and Floyd was 46.

'UNDECIDED'

The jury has previously heard from medical experts called by prosecutors from the Minnesota attorney general's office, who say Floyd had high blood pressure, a slightly enlarged heart and used opioid painkillers but that none of them caused his death.

Those experts agreed with the findings on Floyd's death certificate that his death resulted from being unable to inhale enough oxygen due to the way police compressed his prone body against the road. Baker, the chief medical examiner who certified Floyd's death, told the jury he stands by his findings.

Chauvin's lead lawyer, Eric Nelson, asked Fowler if Floyd died in a homicide or by some other manner of death.

"This is one of those cases where you have so many conflicting different manners," Fowler said. "The carbon monoxide would usually be classified as an accident, although somebody was holding him there, so you could elevate that to a homicide."

In the end, Fowler, the only witness who testified on Wednesday, said he would "fall back to 'undetermined' on this particular case."

Fowler has been involved in other high-profile cases involving police using force against Black people. His office ruled the 2015 death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore a homicide after Gray, 25, suffered spinal injuries in the back of a police van.

In December, Fowler was sued in federal court by the family of Anton Black, who was 19 when he died in 2018 in police custody. Fowler ruled Black's death an accident, but Black's family said Fowler and other Maryland officials "covered up and obscured police responsibility" for Black's death.

Under cross-examination, Fowler conceded to Jerry Blackwell, a prosecutor, that he did not know for certain whether the police car was still running during Floyd's arrest.

Chauvin kept his knee on Floyd's neck for more than three minutes after Floyd stopped breathing, which his own expert witness agreed was wrong.

"Are you critical of the fact that he wasn't given immediate medical care when he went into cardiac arrest?" Blackwell asked.

"As a physician, I would agree," Fowler replied.

Defense expert testifies George Floyd died of heart disease, car exhaust fumes
 

Related Articles

Ethiopia prepares for tense, long-delayed elections
Ethiopia prepares for tense, long-delayed elections By Reuters - Jun 20, 2021

By Giulia Paravicini and Dawit Endeshaw ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) - Ethiopia is preparing for national and regional parliamentary elections on Monday that Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed...

Add a Comment

Comment Guidelines

We encourage you to use comments to engage with users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind: 

  • Enrich the conversation
  • Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed.
  • Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically.
  •  Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases.
  • NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and links within a comment will be removed
  • Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user.
  • Don’t Monopolize the Conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also believe strongly in giving everyone a chance to air their thoughts. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
  • Only English comments will be allowed.

Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at Investing.com’s discretion.

Write your thoughts here
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
Post also to:
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Thanks for your comment. Please note that all comments are pending until approved by our moderators. It may therefore take some time before it appears on our website.
Comments (2)
danny Levine
danny Levine Apr 14, 2021 11:43PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
good. now free Chauvin!
Salman Afsar
Salman Afsar Apr 14, 2021 11:14PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
lolllllllllz, so even the ex chief medical officer is a racist ******
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Add Chart to Comment
Confirm Block

Are you sure you want to block %USER_NAME%?

By doing so, you and %USER_NAME% will not be able to see any of each other's Investing.com's posts.

%USER_NAME% was successfully added to your Block List

Since you’ve just unblocked this person, you must wait 48 hours before renewing the block.

Report this comment

I feel that this comment is:

Comment flagged

Thank You!

Your report has been sent to our moderators for review
Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.
Continue with Google
or
Sign up with Email