George Floyd died of a lack of oxygen from being pinned to the pavement with a knee on his neck, a medical expert testified at former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin’s murder trial on Thursday, rejecting Chauvin’s defence theory that drug use and underlying health problems killed Floyd.
“A healthy person subjected to what Mr Floyd was subjected to, would have died,” said prosecution witness Dr Martin Tobin, a lung and critical care specialist at a veterans hospital and medical school in Chicago.
Using easy-to-understand language to explain medical concepts and loosening his necktie to make a point, Tobin told the jury that Floyd’s breathing was severely constricted while Chauvin and two other 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, analysing a graphic presentation of the three officers restraining Floyd for what prosecutors say was almost nine and a half minutes, testified that Chauvin’s knee was “virtually on the neck” for more than 90 percent of the time.
He cited several other factors that he said made it difficult for Floyd to breathe; officers lifting up on the suspect’s handcuffs, the hard surface of the street, his prone position, his turned head and a knee on his back.
Chauvin kept his knee on Floyd’s neck for three minutes, two seconds after Floyd had “reached the point where there was not one ounce of oxygen left in the body”, Tobin said.
As prosecutors repeatedly played a video clip of Floyd on the ground, Tobin pinpointed what he saw as a change in the man’s face that told him Floyd was dead.
“At the beginning, you can see he’s conscious, you can see slight flickering, and then it disappears,” the witness 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 on May 25, 2020. Floyd was arrested outside a neighbourhood market after being accused of trying to pass a counterfeit $20 bill.
Report by Chetali S M
Reported on – 09/04/2021