George Floyd, the African-American man whose death sparked civil unrest, died of suffocation (lack of oxygen), a private post-mortem examination found.
He died of compression injuries to the neck and back of Minneapolis police, said forensic scientists hired by the Floyd family.
The results differ from an official preliminary autopsy performed by the county medical examiner.
He found no evidence of “traumatic asphyxiation or strangulation.”
“The cause of death, in my opinion, is asphyxia, due to compression of the neck – which can interfere with oxygen going to the brain – and compression of the back, which interferes with breathing”, a said Michael Baden, a former New York City doctor. one of two doctors hired by Mr. Floyd’s family.
The couple discovered the death was a homicide, a statement from the Floyd family’s legal team said.
A video showing a white police officer continuing to kneel on George Floyd’s neck even after arguing that he could not breathe sparked outrage when it emerged a week ago.
This has led to six consecutive days of protests across the United States and an unprecedented level of civil unrest in decades.
Benjamin Crump, a lawyer for the Floyd family, said at a press conference: “There is no doubt that he would be alive today without the pressure exerted on his neck by officer Derek Chauvin and the pressure exercised over his body by two other officers.
He added, “The ambulance was his hearse. “
Mr. Chauvin has been charged with third degree murder and manslaughter, but the Floyd family and their lawyers say the charge should be laid on first degree murder.
More than 75 cities have seen protests, with streets deserted a few days ago due to a coronavirus full of protesters marching side by side.
The Floyd case rekindled deep anger over black American police murders and racism. It follows the high-profile cases of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Eric Garner in New York and others who led the Black Lives Matter movement.