America's most famous pathologist, Dr. Michael Baden, has no doubt how George Floyd died. Homicide. He was executed. The ambulance that carried him away was his hearse.
Sustained pressure on the right side of Mr. Floyd’s carotid artery impeded blood flow to the brain, and weight on his back impeded his ability to breathe. The independent examiners found that weight on the back, handcuffs and positioning were contributory factors because they impaired the ability of Mr. Floyd’s diaphragm to function.No contributing factors.
“What we found is consistent with what people saw. There is no other health issue that could cause or contribute to the death,” Dr. Baden said in a press release. “Police have this false impression that if you can talk, you can breathe. That’s not true.” He said in the news conference that Floyd didn’t have an underlying medical condition that contributed to his death, saying he was in “good health.”
“For George Floyd, the ambulance was his hearse. Beyond question, he would be alive today if not for the pressure applied to his neck by fired officer Derek Chauvin and the strain on his body from two additional officers kneeling on him,” said Crump in a news conference. “George was living, breathing, talking until we see these officers restrain him while he’s facedown in handcuffs with Officer Chauvin having his knee lodged into his neck for more than 8 minutes.. and the other officers having both of his knees lodged into his back.” He called the violence in the streets unacceptable.Ruling out the official excuses.
The criminal complaint describes preliminary findings but says the full report is not yet completed. The complaint filed by the Hennepin County Attorney, Mike Freeman, also says Floyd did not die of “traumatic asphyxiation or strangulation.” Furthermore, it refers to Floyd having “potential” intoxicants in his system as a contributor to his death, indicating that’s not yet known for certain, despite it being cited as a contributing factor.Rejecting the official line.
Baden has conducted high-profile autopsies for families before; most recently, he examined the body of Jeffrey Epstein, saying he found indicates of homicide, not suicide.Debunking the contentions of state officials is critical to closing the door on "reasonable doubt" defences.
For any homicide charge, the prosecution has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant caused the victim’s death; that is, that the victim would not have died at that point but for the defendant’s actions. That’s easiest when the defendant’s actions were the only thing that caused the victim’s death, but it is enough if the defendant just contributed to the victim’s death. The defense will seek to raise a reasonable doubt about the cause of death, probably by arguing that Mr. Floyd would have died anyway even if the officers had done everything correctly. Second, the complaint has to allege and the prosecution has to prove the other elements of the offense. Under Minnesota law, third degree murder applies when the defendant ‘without intent to effect the death of any person, causes the death of another by perpetrating an act eminently dangerous to others and evincing a depraved mind, without regard for human life.’ The prosecution has to establish that 1) what Derek Chauvin was doing was eminently dangerous to others, and 2) that he evinced a depraved mind and disregard for human life. I didn’t see much of anything in the complaint on those points, and you can bet that the defense will argue that 1) what the officers were doing wasn’t ’eminently dangerous’ and, 2) even if it was, Derek Chauvin was doing what he thought was right.