A respiratory expert testified Thursday that George Floyd died of lack of oxygen and that the knee of Officer Derek Chauvin was on his neck “more than 90 percent of the time” as he was handcuffed, face down in the street.
Pulmonologist Dr Martin Tobin told the jury at Chauvin’s murder and manslaughter trial that he had watched videos of Floyd’s arrest on May 25, 2020 “hundreds of times.”
“Mr. Floyd died of low oxygen,” Tobin told a jury of nine women and five men who heard the high-profile case in a well-guarded Minneapolis courtroom.
“It caused damage to his brain,” he said, and arrhythmia – an irregular heartbeat – that “caused his heart to stop”.
Chauvin, 45, who is white, was seen in a video taken by a spectator kneeling on the neck of a handcuffed Floyd for more than nine minutes as the 46-year-old African-American man repeatedly complained that he ‘he “can’t breathe.”
Video of Floyd’s arrest sparked protests against racial injustice and police brutality in the United States and around the world.
Tobin said Floyd’s breathing had weakened because he was face down in the street, handcuffed and with Chauvin and other officers on his neck and back.
Eric Nelson, Chauvin’s defense attorney, repeatedly suggested during the trial that Chauvin’s body weight was in fact sometimes on Floyd’s shoulder or back and not on his neck.
“Officer Chauvin’s knee is practically on the neck for the vast majority of the time,” he said, “over 90% of the time”.
Pre-existing conditions are not a factor
Tobin, of Irish descent, testifies as an expert witness for the prosecution.
The Chicago-based doctor said he has already testified in medical malpractice trials, but this is his first criminal trial and he is unpaid.
Chauvin, who has pleaded not guilty, faces up to 40 years in prison if convicted of the most serious charge – second degree murder.
Chauvin, a 19-year veteran of the Minneapolis Police Department, was forcibly dismissed after Floyd’s death.
Prosecutors seek to prove Floyd’s death was due to asphyxiation, while Chauvin’s defense claims it was due to illegal drugs in his system and underlying health issues.
Tobin rejected defense claims that any pre-existing medical condition could have contributed to Floyd’s death.
“A healthy person subjected to what Mr. Floyd was subjected to would have died as a result of what he was subjected to,” he said.
Forensic scientist Breahna Giles said on Wednesday that pills containing methamphetamine and fentanyl were found in Floyd’s car and in the police car, with some pills containing saliva matching Floyd’s UKTN.
Several high-ranking Minneapolis police officers testified that Chauvin’s use of force against Floyd was excessive.
Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo said Monday that Chauvin violated the department’s training policies and “values.”
Floyd was arrested on suspicion of passing a fake $ 20 bill at a nearby store.
A paramedic told the jury last week that Floyd was already dead when an ambulance arrived and Chauvin was still kneeling on his neck.
Police officers are rarely convicted in the United States when charges are laid, and a conviction on one of the charges against Chauvin will force the jury to reach a unanimous verdict.
Three other former police officers involved in the arrest are to be tried separately later this year.
(This story was not edited by UK Time News on Social Platforms.)