George Floyd died of a lack of oxygen from being pinned to the pavement with a knee on his neck, medical experts testified at former Officer Derek Chauvin’s murder trial, emphatically rejecting the defense theory that Floyd’s drug use and underlying health problems killed him.
“A healthy person subjected to what Mr. Floyd was subjected to would have died,” prosecution witness Dr. Martin Tobin, a lung and critical care specialist at the Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital and Loyola University’s medical school in Illinois, testified Thursday.
Using easy-to-understand language to explain medical concepts and even loosening his necktie to illustrate a point, Tobin told the jury that Floyd’s breathing was severely constricted while Chauvin and two other Minneapolis officers held the 46-year-old Black man down on his stomach last May with his hands cuffed behind him and his face jammed against the ground.
The lack of oxygen resulted in brain damage and caused his heart to stop, the witness said.
Tobin, analyzing images of the three officers restraining Floyd for what prosecutors say was almost 9 1/2 minutes, testified that Chauvin’s knee was “virtually on the neck” more than 90% of the time.
He said several other factors also made it difficult for Floyd to breathe: officers lifting up on the suspect’s handcuffs, the hard pavement, his prone position, his turned head and a knee on his back.
Chauvin kept his knee on Floyd’s neck for 3 minutes, 2 seconds, after Floyd took his last breath, Tobin said. After that last breath, Floyd’s oxygen levels went down to zero and Floyd “reached the point where there was not one ounce of oxygen left in the body,” he said.
As prosecutors repeatedly played a video clip of Floyd on the ground, Tobin pinpointed what he said was a change in the man’s face that told him Floyd was dead. That moment happened around five minutes after police began holding Floyd down.
“At the beginning, you can see he’s conscious, you can see slight flickering, and then it disappears,” Tobin said. He explained: “That’s the moment the life goes out of his body.”
Chauvin, 45, is charged with murder and manslaughter in Floyd’s death May 25. Floyd was arrested outside a neighborhood market after being accused of trying to pass a counterfeit $20 bill. Bystander video of Floyd crying that he couldn’t breathe as onlookers yelled at the white officer to get off him sparked protests and scattered violence around the U.S.
Tobin also testified that just because Floyd was talking and can be seen moving on video doesn’t mean he was breathing adequately. He said a leg movement seen in the footage was an involuntary sign of a fatal brain injury, and that a person can continue to speak until the airway narrows to 15%, after which “you are in deep trouble.”
Officers can be heard on video telling Floyd that if he can talk, he can breathe.
During cross-examination, Chauvin attorney Eric Nelson pressed Tobin on that common misconception, pointing to earlier testimony that Minneapolis …read more
Source:: Headlines News4jax
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