George Floyd’s death has led to a sixth day of protests with dozens of cities ignoring imposed curfews to protest against police brutality and systemic racism. But what did an independent autopsy ordered by George Floyd’s family reveal about his cause of death?
Nationwide protests across the US have erupted since the death of an unarmed African-American man in police custody.
More than 4,000 arrests have been reported and a church in Washington DC was set on fire amid the protests.
George Floyd, 46, died after being arrested by police outside a shop in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Shocking footage of the arrest showed Mr Floyd laid on the ground with a white police officer, Derek Chauvin, kneeling on Mr Floyd’s neck.
In the horrifying video, Mr Floyd is heard pleading for his mother and repeatedly saying “I can’t breathe”.
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What did the autopsy results reveal?
The attorney for George Floyd’s family, Benjamin Crump, said an independent autopsy “determined that asphyxiation from sustained pressure was the cause” of Mr Floyd’s death.
The autopsy performed by Dr Michael Baden and Dr Allecia Wilson said “neck and back compression that led to a lack of blood flow to the brain” according to Mr Crump’s statement.
Furthermore, the doctors found the “weight on the back, handcuffs and positioning were contributory factors because they impaired the ability of Mr. Floyd’s diaphragm to function.”
An official autopsy released last week indicated that the combined effects of being restrained, potential intoxicants in Mr Floyd’s system and his underlying health issues, including heart disease, probably contributed to his death.
Toxicology results can take weeks.
George Floyd autopsy: Mr Floyd died of
George Floyd autopsy: Mr Floyd’s autopsy revealed he died of asphyxiation
The two medical examiners suggest he died of “mechanical asphyxia” adding the compression on his back and neck prevented the bloodflow to his brain and airflow to his lungs.
Mr Crump said: “For George Floyd, the ambulance was his hearse.
“Beyond question, he would be alive today if not for the pressure applied to his neck by fired officer Derek Chauvin and the strain on his body from two additional officers kneeling on him.
“Mr Floyd’s death was a homicide by officers who taunted him while holding him down for more than eight minutes.
“And the officer who stood by doing nothing was a physical blue shield – a living symbol of the code of silence.”
He added: “George died because he needed a breath of air.”
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Several bystanders who begged officers at the scene to intervene recorded the footage of Mr Floyd’s death and shared the images of social media.
The footage went viral and sparked a week of protests across most major cities in the US.
Mr Floyd was taken into custody under suspicion of trying to use a forged $ 20 bill.
The criminal complaint noted that the medical examiner’s report was preliminary but that the autopsy “revealed no physical findings that support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxia or strangulation.”
George Floyd autopsy: All four officers at the scene associated with Mr Floyd’s death were fired
George Floyd autopsy: The officer who knelt on Mr Floyd’s neck has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter
The Minneapolis police officer who knelt on Mr Floyd’s neck was charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.
He is now in custody in a state prison.
Three other officers who were on the scene have not been detained or charged with any crimes.
All four officers were fired the day after Mr Floyd’s death.
President Donald Trump has told state governors to “dominate” protests and called on law enforcement to get “much tougher”.
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany has defended President Trump’s response to the unrest, saying he recognises injustices and that his tweet about dominating with police was taken out of context.
She told reporters police lines have been “overwhelmed by massive protests that have turned into riots”.
Ms McEnany added: “The president has said he wants to dominate the streets with national guard, with the police presence.”
When questioned about Mr Trump’s lack of a national address, she said statements “don’t stop anarchy”.
She added: “This president has not been silent and at this moment he’s acting to protect this country.”