‘Enlarged Heart’, Not Knee, Caused Floyd’s Death: Defense Expert Black Lives Matter News


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The defense for former Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin called a medical examiner who testified that George Floyd’s cause of death was his own heart problems and drug use on Wednesday, disputing the account of the charge.
Chauvin’s defense attorney Eric Nelson made Floyd’s health and drug use the basis for arguing that Chauvin’s restraint of Floyd was not the cause of death. Chauvin is charged with second and third degree murder in connection with Floyd’s death.

Former Maryland State Chief Medical Examiner Dr David Fowler said Floyd’s “enlarged heart” was the main reason for his death.

Fowler said he studied the findings of the county’s chief medical examiner and decided that Floyd’s death was caused by a sudden, erratic beating of his heart, known as a sudden cardiac arrhythmia.

He said this was the result of his “atherosclerotic and hypertensive heart disease” during police restraint, using medical terms to describe the narrowing of blood vessels and heart problems caused by high blood pressure.

Fowler said the way Floyd struggled with the police trying to get him into their car may have caused stress that led to a cardiac arrhythmia.

A sketch of the courtroom of former Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin, right, and his defense attorney Eric Nelson, left, April 13, 2021 [Jane Rosenberg/Reuters]

The fentanyl and methamphetamine found in Floyd’s blood and carbon monoxide poisoning from the exhaust of the adjacent police car may have contributed to the death, Fowler said.

The jury has already heard from medical experts called by prosecutors in the Minnesota attorney general’s office, who say Floyd suffered from high blood pressure, a mildly enlarged heart, and was using opioid pain relievers, but that no ‘was the cause of his death.

These experts agreed with the findings in Floyd’s death certificate, saying he was killed because he was unable to inhale enough oxygen due to the way police compressed his body lying against the road. Baker, the chief medical examiner who certified Floyd’s death, told the jury he stands by his conclusions.

Nelson asked Fowler if Floyd had died in a homicide or some other way.

“This is one of those cases where you have so many different conflicting ways,” Fowler said. “Carbon monoxide was generally classified as an accident, although somebody would catch it there, so you could make it a homicide.”

In the end, he said he would “revert to ‘indeterminate’ in this particular case.”

Fowler has been involved in other high-profile cases involving police using force against blacks. His office ruled that Freddie Gray’s death in 2015 was a homicide after Gray, 25, suffered spinal injuries in the back of a police van in Baltimore.

Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill speaks on preliminary motions in Chauvin’s trial on March 11, 2021, at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis [Court TV/ Pool via AP Photo]

In December, Fowler was sued in federal court by the family of Anton Black, who was 19 when he died in 2018 after police pinned him face down for several minutes as he shouted for his mother. Fowler judged Black’s death to be an accident caused by “the stress of his struggle.”

Black’s family cited similarities to Floyd’s death in their trial, in which they said Fowler and other Maryland officials “concealed and obscured police responsibility” for Black’s death. Fowler’s attorneys said the way he certified Black’s death did not violate the constitutional rights of Black’s family.

Prosecutor Jerry Blackwell took issue with Fowler’s testimony, saying he ignored Chauvin’s weight, among other things.

Chauvin’s defense faces an uphill battle after numerous prosecution witnesses, including current members of the Minneapolis Police Department, say restraining Chauvin was not permitted and likely caused death by Floyd.

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