Conflicting autopsies complicate the trial of Derek Chauvin for death of George Floyd
The independent autopsy of George Floyd commissioned by his family and conducted by a team including renowned pathologist Dr. Michael Baden conflicts with the results of the official Hennepin County medical examiner.
The Star-Tribune reports:
Two autopsy results — one requested by George Floyd's family and the other from Hennepin County — agree that his death is a homicide but disagree over exactly what killed him.
During a news conference Monday afternoon, two doctors hired by the Floyd family to do a private autopsy said they believe he died of asphyxia, which happens when oxygen flow is cut off, causing the brain and other organs to stop working.
"We believe truth will help lead to justice and so, despite how painful these autopsy findings are, especially for George Floyd's family, we think it is essential that the truth comes out about the manner and the exact manner and science as to how George Floyd was killed," Benjamin Crump, an attorney for the Floyd family, told reporters.
Hours later, the Hennepin County Medical Examiner's Office issued its final public report, stating that Floyd died as a result of "cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression." A spokesperson for the office, citing Minnesota laws, said they could not discuss that cause of death further.
The report noted that Floyd "experienced a cardiopulmonary arrest while being restrained by law enforcement officer(s)."
It also listed "arteriosclerotic and hypertensive heart disease," as well as fentanyl intoxication and recent methamphetamine use as "other significant conditions."
Although both autopsies agree that homicide was the cause of death, the conflict injects the possibility of "reasonable doubt" being used by defense counsel in the eventual trial of Derek Chauvin. As with the jurors who will eventually sit in judgment, I lack the scientific and medical background to understand the basis for the conflicting autopsies. Prosecution now has been taken away from county attorney Mike Freeman and handed to state attorney general Keith Ellison, a former Louis Farrakhan/Black Muslim activist and current fan of Antifa. Should Ellison's team botch the prosecution, the riots that followed the acquittal of Los Angeles cops for the beating of Rodney King, captured on bystanders' video like Floyd' s death, would be like a day at the beach.
The inflammatory 8-minute-and-45-second video of Chauvin placing his knee on Floyd's neck as Floyd pleads for his life and calls out for his mother is heartrending, and it has led ignorant people to call for the death penalty, heedless of the fact that Minnesota abolished it over a century ago. But the conclusion of both autopsies that homicide was the cause of death may lead to escalation to first- or second-degree murder. While a lust for vengeance may lead to escalation of the charges facing Chauvin, over-charging a defendant can lead to acquittal, so that is a danger in this instance as well.
Nobody wants Chauvin to escape responsibility for his atrocious behavior, his abuse of the trust that gave him a badge and the right to use force, but the scientific, technical, and legal details matter. With Keith Ellison (formerly known as Keith X. Ellison) in charge, my level of confidence in justice being done is low.