George Floyd died of “low oxygen” after Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck, a medical expert testified Thursday in the trial of the former police officer accused of murdering the Minneapolis man.
One of the central questions in the trial, which has captured the world’s attention, is whether Chauvin caused Floyd’s death when he knelt on his neck for about nine minutes, or whether she was caused by cardiac arrhythmia after Floyd ingested drugs, as the defense did. asserted.
Chicago pulmonologist Dr. Martin Tobin took the stand Thursday morning to testify on behalf of the prosecution, telling jurors that Floyd died of “low oxygen”.
“It caused damage to his brain which we see, and it also caused a [pulseless electrical activity] arrhythmia that caused his heart to stop, ”he said. “The cause of the low oxygen level was shallow breathing.”
In cross-examination, defense attorney Eric Nelson questioned Tobin on several scientific points, with the doctor sometimes correcting him. Nelson attempted to suggest that fentanyl could cause death from lack of oxygen in the brain. Tobin acknowledged that it could happen, but not in the way he had observed with Floyd.
Chauvin and three other agents arrested Floyd on May 25 for allegedly using a forged $ 20 bill. A viewer filmed Chauvin pinning a handcuffed Floyd to the ground with a knee on his neck and uploaded it. Floyd’s death was seen as a symbol of how black Americans are treated by the police and sparked protests around the world against racial injustice.
In a country where officers are rarely condemned in the murders while on duty, Chauvin pleaded not guilty to charges of second and third degree murder, as well as manslaughter.
Video is now crucial evidence for prosecutors. They also placed other Minneapolis police officers, including department head Medaria Arradondo, on the stand in an attempt to demonstrate that Chauvin used more force to subdue Floyd than department policy allowed.
Nelson said in his opening statement that Chauvin went through his training and tried to cast doubt on jurors as to what really caused Floyd’s death. The US legal system says that a criminal accused, presumed innocent, can only be convicted if prosecutors prove their case “beyond a reasonable doubt.”
But Tobin said the main factors behind Floyd’s shallow breathing include the fact that he was lying on his stomach, wearing handcuffs, and Chauvin had one knee on his neck and another on his back.
Prosecutors showed an image from the video where Chauvin’s boot toe does not touch the ground.
“This means his entire body weight is directed towards Mr. Floyd’s neck,” Tobin said.