Tuesday, 21 September, 2021


Defense casts doubt on Floyd's cause of death

Derek Chauvin Judge refuses lawyer’s mid-trial request to acquit ex-cop in George Floyd’s death
Conrad Doyle | 15 April, 2021, 18:27

On Wednesday, the defense called a medical expert who contradicted the testimony of many experts called by the prosecution.

Barry Brodd, a former Santa Rosa, California, officer, stoutly defended Chauvin's actions, even as a prosecutor pounded away at the witness, banging the lectern at one point during cross-examination and growing incredulous over Brodd's use of the "resting comfortably" phrase.

Dr. David Fowler, a former Maryland chief medical examiner who is now with a consulting firm, said Wednesday the fentanyl and methamphetamine in Floyd's system, and possibly carbon monoxide poisoning from auto exhaust, were contributing factors in the 46-year-old Black man's death last May.

In his original testimony, Fowler said carbon monoxide could have contributed to oxygen depletion in Floyd, noting that he was facing the tailpipe end of a squad auto.

Floyd had narrowed coronary arteries, known as atherosclerosis, and an enlarged heart due to his high blood pressure, or hypertension, Fowler said.

The medical examiner in the case has called the death a homicide, but Fowler said there were so many contributing factors that he would consider the manner of death "undetermined".

Dr. Fowler believes Floyd died of a sudden cardiac arrhythmia due to his underlying heart disease while being restrained by police.

On Tuesday, the first day defense attorney Eric Nelson presented his case in Hennepin County District Court, a longtime police instructor testified that Chauvin was justified in kneeling on Floyd's neck for more than nine minutes because he resisted arrest and struggled with officers at 38th and Chicago.

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.

He also got Dr Fowler to admit that he didn't take the weight of Chauvin's equipment into account when he analysed the pressure on Floyd's body.

"Are you suggesting that though Mr. Floyd may have been in cardiac arrest there was a time when he may have been revived because he wasn't dead yet?" asked Blackwell. In a key segment, Blackwell questioned Fowler extensively about the timeline of Floyd's death, noting that his speech became slower, he lost consciousness, and then was found to not have a pulse.

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

"That is correct, because it was never sent", Fowler said. A cardiology expert rejected the notion that Floyd died of heart problems, saying all indications were that he had "an exceptionally strong heart".

"It is, your honor", Chauvin said.

Dr Fowler added that Chauvin's knee on Mr Floyd was "nowhere close to his airway" and that Mr Floyd's speaking and groaning showed that his airway was still open.

Mr Chauvin, who is white, has pleaded not guilty to murder and manslaughter charges.

"The amount of force that was applied to Mr. Floyd was less than enough to bruise him", said Fowler, testifying that "all of Floyd's injuries were in areas that Chauvin's knee did not press on".

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