MINNEAPOLIS (AFP) - An autopsy arranged by the family of George Floyd shows he was suffocated by a US policeman, rather than dying from pre-existing heart problems as claimed by the official ruling, their lawyer announced Monday (June 1).
"Independent medical examiners who conducted an autopsy of Floyd Sunday determined that asphyxiation from sustained pressure was the cause of death," Ben Crump said.
Aleccia Wilson, Director at Autopsy and Forensic Sciences at the University of Michigan, said she had examined Floyd's body.
"The evidence is consistent with mechanical asphyxia as the cause of death, and homicide as the manner of death," she told a news conference.
Floyd died on May 27 after a policeman knelt on the 46-year-old African American's neck for almost nine minutes. Floyd became unresponsive after almost three minutes.
A bystander video of the incident, which came after Floyd was detained on a minor charge of passing a counterfeit $20 bill, sparked a nationwide uproar over police brutality and protests and rioting in more than 140 cities.
The policeman who held his knee to Floyd's neck, Derek Chauvin, was arrested on Friday and charged with third degree, or unintentional murder, based on an initial official autopsy that said Floyd died not of asphyxia but of "underlying health conditions including coronary artery disease and hypertensive heart disease."
Floyd's family took issue with that conclusion and have demanded Chauvin be charged with first degree murder, and that three other officers at the scene be arrested and charged as complicit with murder.
Wilson and another autopsy expert, Dr Michael Baden, said they disagreed with the official report, only the summary of which has been released as part of the court document for Chauvin's arrest.
"The autopsy shows that Mr Floyd had no underlying medical problem that caused or contributed to his death." "He was in good health," Baden said.
"I wish I had the same coronary arteries that Mr Floyd had that we saw at the autopsy," he added.