MINNEAPOLIS — It was a video everyone in the courtroom has been shown repeatedly, of George Floyd facedown on the street with Derek Chauvin’s knee on his neck. But this time, it was slowed down so the jury could see the briefest widening of Mr. Floyd’s eyes — what the expert witness on the stand on Thursday said was his last conscious moment.
“One second he’s alive, and one second he’s no longer,” said the witness, Dr. Martin Tobin, adding, “That’s the moment the life goes out of his body.”
Dr. Tobin, a pulmonologist who specializes in the mechanics of breathing, presented the prosecution’s first extended testimony on a central question in the murder trial of Mr. Chauvin: how George Floyd died. “You’re seeing here fatal injury to the brain from a lack of oxygen,” Dr. Tobin said.
Dr. Tobin said that Mr. Chauvin and other police officers had restricted Mr. Floyd’s breathing by flattening his rib cage against the pavement and pushing his cuffed hands into his torso, and by the placement of Mr. Chauvin’s knees on his neck and back.
The doctor pinpointed the moment he said Mr. Floyd had shown signs of a brain injury, four minutes before Mr. Chauvin lifted his knee from his body.
After two days of sometimes tedious law enforcement testimony on procedures and policy, jurors appeared to be riveted by Dr. Tobin’s ability to break down complex physiological concepts, at times scribbling notes in unison.
Leaning into the microphone, tie slightly askew, Dr. Tobin used his hands and elbows to demonstrate how people breathe. He gave anatomy lessons by asking jurors to palpate their own necks, and showed an artist’s rendering of how three officers, including Mr. Chauvin, had been positioned on Mr. Floyd.
He delivered his opinions without a shred of ambivalence, noting that his conclusions were based on “very precise” scientific knowledge like the level of oxygen when someone loses consciousness.
Dr. Tobin said he had watched portions of the video evidence hundreds of times. He had calculated what he said was the exact amount of weight Mr. Chauvin had placed on Mr. Floyd’s neck (86.9 pounds), clocked Mr. Floyd’s respiratory rate and marked the instant he took his final breath: 8:25:15 p.m.
He reassured jurors that many of the medical terms they have heard during the trial — hypoxia, asphyxia, anoxia — all mean essentially the same thing, “a drastically low level of oxygen.”
His testimony may help prosecutors overcome the fact that the official autopsy report did not use the word “asphyxia,” and seemed to make irrelevant the exact position of Mr. Chauvin’s knees, which has come up several times.
“I don’t think I’ve seen an expert witness as effective as this,” said Mary Moriarty, the former chief public defender of Hennepin County, who has been following the televised trial. “He appears to be the world’s foremost expert on this, and he explained everything in English, in layman’s terms.”
The jury has heard repeatedly that police officers are taught that restraining people facedown is dangerous. Dr. Tobin walked the jury through exactly why, explaining first that simply being in the prone position reduces lung capacity.
On top of that, a knee on the neck compressed Mr. Floyd’s airway, he said, and the weight on his back alone made it three times harder than normal to breathe.
Dr. Tobin discounted the oft-repeated adage that someone who can talk can breathe, calling it “a very dangerous mantra to have out there.”
It is technically true, he said, but “it gives you an enormous false sense of security.”
“Certainly at the moment that you are speaking you are breathing,” he continued, “but it doesn’t tell you that you’re going to be breathing five seconds later.”
Using video stills, Dr. Tobin showed the efforts that Mr. Floyd had made to free his torso enough to breathe, trying to use his shoulder, his fingertips and even his face, smashed flat against the pavement, as leverage against the weight of Mr. Chauvin.
He pointed out the toe of Mr. Chauvin’s boot lifting off the pavement, and the telltale kick of Mr. Floyd’s legs that, he said, indicated that he had suffered a brain injury 5 minutes and 3 seconds after Mr. Chauvin first placed his knee on Mr. Floyd’s neck.
The prosecution used Dr. Tobin to pre-emptively poke holes in the defense’s argument that Mr. Floyd’s death was caused by his use of fentanyl, underlying heart disease and other physical ailments.
“A healthy person subjected to what Mr. Floyd was subjected to would have died as a result,” Dr. Tobin said.
Dr. Tobin was born in rural Ireland, went to medical school in Dublin and spoke with a soft Irish lilt. He is a physician in pulmonary and critical care medicine at Edward Hines Jr. V.A. Hospital and Loyola University Medical Center in the Chicago area and has been practicing for more than 40 years, but this was his first time testifying in a criminal case.
He said that he had testified numerous times in medical malpractice cases, and that he had waived his usual fee of $ 500 an hour for the Chauvin trial.
Experts say that working for free could cut two ways, either impressing the jury or suggesting that the witness was biased in favor of one side. Mr. Chauvin’s lawyer, Eric J. Nelson, tried to highlight the latter possibility. “You agreed to waive your hourly rate for this time?” he asked. “You felt it was an important case, right?”
Dr. Tobin disputed a defense assertion that an elevated level of carbon dioxide found in Mr. Floyd’s blood was the result of fentanyl use, attributing it instead to the length of time he was not breathing before he was given artificial breaths in an ambulance.
He said that if fentanyl had been having a significant effect, Mr. Floyd’s respiratory rate would have been slower than normal, and that if Mr. Floyd’s heart disease had been severe, it would have been more rapid. Instead, the rate was normal, he said.
Mr. Nelson pushed back, continuing to press his argument that Mr. Floyd’s death might have been an overdose.
He asked if Mr. Floyd’s breathing may have been inhibited if he had taken fentanyl in the moments before police officers brought him to the ground. Dr. Tobin agreed that it could have been but said that Mr. Floyd had never gone into a coma, as he would have done if he were overdosing.
The prosecution called to the stand two more witnesses on Thursday who undermined the claim that Mr. Floyd died of an overdose. Daniel Isenschmid, a forensic toxicologist at N.M.S. Labs in Pennsylvania, where Mr. Floyd’s blood was tested, said the level of fentanyl in his system was far from being obviously fatal. He said it was common for intoxicated drivers who had used fentanyl and survived to have an even higher level of the drug than was found in Mr. Floyd’s blood.
Dr. William Smock, the police surgeon for the Louisville Metro Police Department and a professor of emergency medicine at the University of Louisville School of Medicine, said Mr. Floyd would have had a much more depressed disposition if he were experiencing a fentanyl overdose. “He’s breathing. He’s talking. He’s not snoring,” Dr. Smock said.
“He is saying, ‘Please, please get off of me. I want to breathe. I can’t breathe.’ That is not a fentanyl overdose. That is somebody begging to breathe.”
Reporting was contributed by Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs and Tim Arango from Minneapolis, John Eligon from Kansas City, Mo., and Sheri Fink and Haley Willis from New York.
An Austin court on Thursday dismissed Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s appeal challenging Travis County and Austin’s New Years holiday curfew, months after it ended — in a perhaps symbolic win for local officials.
The 3rd Court of Appeals in Austin dismissed Paxton’s appeal on technical grounds. The case is moot, Justice Gisela Triana wrote in the court’s opinion, because the events already passed and Paxton’s appeal is contingent on future and uncertain events. The court’s lone Republican justice dissented.
While it’s been months since New Year’s, Paxton argued the case wasn’t moot and asked the court to prevent Austin and Travis — or other local authorities — from issuing similar orders in the future. The court refused.
The court’s decision comes months after Austin and Travis County’s order went into effect. Because a trial court refused to immediately end the restrictions as Paxton requested, the city and county were able to enforce the restrictions during the holiday — something local officials and health experts counted as a win. The Texas Supreme Court later blocked the curfew from continuing.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has refused to disclose which goalkeeper will start in Manchester United ’s Europa League quarter-final first leg at Granada on Thursday.
David de Gea had been the undoubted No.1 this season, with Dean Henderson limited to appearances in cup competitions.
But the England international was given a chance in the Premier League when De Gea returned to Spain to attend the birth of his first child.
But with the Spaniard back in Manchester last week, Henderson retained his place in the line-up against Brighton, hinting at a long-term changing of the guard.
Should De Gea be handed the start against Granada it will be another clear sign that Henderson has moved ahead of him in the pecking order.
But despite their battle for minutes, Solskjaer has confirmed that there are no hard feelings between the two, who are part of a very close goalkeeping group at Old Trafford.
“Goalkeeper departments are a very tight knit group,” he explained. “They work together in preparation, they have different gym sessions, individual sessions [to the rest of the squad], they stay together more.
“Naturally they create a bond and the spirit in the goalkeeping department has been top. But it’s a healthy competition.”
And Solskjaer’s instructions ahead of Thursday night shed some light on their relationship as the Norwegian was overheard talking to club photographers.
“Get some smiley pictures of them keepers,” he joked. “There’s a warzone around here in the press.”
Solskjaer has suggested that De Gea will definitely play again before the season is out and has said that he is ready and waiting for whenever that opportunity arises.
He continued: “David has been a top, top keeper and he still is. He’s working to be ready when he plays.
“If it’s Dean or David, I’m very comfortable with both of them and I’m very happy that none of them are happy to not play.”
Paulina Porizkova believes online bullies should be held ‘responsible for what they say.’ So, the 55-year-old supermodel put their cruel comments on blast!
Paulina Porizkova is turning the tables on her online bullies. Instead of letting them get the last laugh by dissing her appearance, the 55-year-old supermodel encouraged fans to “LAUGH at them.” So, she posted seven cruel comments from her haters to hold them “responsible,” which were all a mix of misogyny, sexism, ageism and body-shaming.
“You have the voice and skin of a smoker. A shame,” read a comment from one bully, while another person wrote, “You need a good amount of botox lmao,now you look like 75 years old grandma.” Another troll with too much time on their hands wrote, “I think ur just easy & wouldn’t blame anyone for not wanting something used up. I’m assuming u have no husband but do have cats?”
Those were just some of the cyberbullying messages; you can read them all above, if your eyes can bare to. Paulina won’t let petty words hurt her, though. “Aaand – to start my week- some thoughtful readers’ comments,” she wrote under her screenshotted compilation of these messages. Paulina continued, “I know many of you believe that trolls and nasty people should just be deleted- but I beg to disagree. I believe in holding them responsible for what they say. Plus, I find them sort of hilarious. You know how you disarm the bullies in the schoolyard, right? You LAUGH at them.”
Paulina offered this tip on how to deal with Internet trolls after sharing a sultry photo of herself looking powerful in a black lace lingerie set. The Czechoslovakia-native model — who was raised in Sweden — was presenting a debate for her over 331,000 Instagram followers: is “sex a social construct,” or “a biological inevitability” when it comes to men and women?
Paulina has been dealing with bullies long before social media. On March 18, the 1984 and 1985 cover star of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue shared a selfie of herself after receiving a plasma pen treatment and opened up about her childhood tormentors.
“When I was 14, and terribly bullied in school, I thought it was because I was so ugly. That is what I was told. I was told I looked like a moose, a plucked chicken, a drunken giraffe, and a dirty communist (What does that even look like?),” Paulina wrote underneath the selfie, continuing, “All comments were made by girls. Had I had the access to plastic surgery, I would have gotten my lips plumped, my teeth capped, shave down my square jawbone, breast implants and liposuction on my thighs, and I would have given my soul to be a cute 5’5 or so.”
Paulina then revealed why it was important that she did not cave in to her bullies criticisms: “A year later, at fifteen, I became a model in Paris, a model of what other women were supposed to aspire to look like. I wanted desperately to fit it. But soon I was rewarded for exactly the parts of me I thought I hated. And that taught me an invaluable lesson. I hadn’t changed. People’s opinions had.” So, don’t mind the opinions that your bullies have of you today.It’s advice that Paulina still heeds to this day, as you can see in her powerful message above!