The preliminary autopsy results for George Floyd are contained in the charging document for fired police officer Derek Chauvin. The “Statement of probable cause for charges against Derek Chauvin” can be viewed here or by clicking on the document in the tweet below.
Chauvin has been charged with third degree murder and second degree manslaughter.
This relevant portion of the report states:
The Hennepin County Medical Examiner (ME) conducted Mr. Floyd’s autopsy
on May 26, 2020.
The full report of the ME is pending but the ME has made the following preliminary
The autopsy revealed no physical findings that support a diagnosis of traumatic
asphyxia or strangulation. Mr. Floyd had underlying health conditions including
coronary artery disease and hypertensive heart disease. The combined effects of Mr. Floyd being restrained by the police, his underlying health conditions and any potential intoxicants in his system likely contributed to his death.
The defendant had his knee on Mr. Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and
46 seconds in total.
Two minutes and 53 seconds of this was after Mr. Floyd was non-responsive. Police are trained that this type of restraint with a subject in a prone position is inherently dangerous.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, I am not a lawyer. But I do wonder if a good defense attorney could poke enough holes in this story to convince a jury to acquit Chauvin, given that the autopsy “revealed no physical findings that support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxia or strangulation” and that Floyd had underlying health conditions.
Aside from the fact that I’m not a lawyer, these are only the preliminary results of the first autopsy.
The New York Post reports that a second autopsy will be performed by forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Baden, well-known for performing autopsies in high-profile cases. Baden, 85, performed the autopsy on Jeffrey Epstein. He is also the host of HBO’s Autopsy.
Here is the order of events leading up to Floyd’s death from the Statement of probable cause:
On May 25, 2020, someone called 911 and reported that a man bought merchandise
from Cup Foods at 3759 Chicago Avenue in Minneapolis, Hennepin County, Minnesota with a
counterfeit $20 bill.
At 8:08 p.m., Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) Officers Thomas Lane and J.A. Kueng arrived
with their body worn cameras (BWCs) activated and running. The officers learned from store personnel
that the man who passed the counterfeit $20 was parked in a car around the corner
from the store on 38th Street.
BWC video obtained by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension shows that the officers
approached the car, Lane on the driver’s side and Kueng on the passenger side. Three people
were in the car; George Floyd was in the driver’s seat, a known adult male was in the passenger
seat and a known adult female was sitting in the backseat. As Officer Lane began speaking with
Mr. Floyd, he pulled his gun out and pointed it at Mr. Floyd’s open window and directed Mr. Floyd
to show his hands. When Mr. Floyd put his hands in the steering wheel, Lane put his gun back in
While Officer Kueng was speaking with the front seat passenger, Officer Lane ordered Mr. Floyd
out of the car, put his hands on Mr. Floyd, and pulled him out of the car. Officer Lane handcuffed
Mr. Floyd. Mr. Floyd actively resisted being handcuffed.
Once handcuffed, Mr. Floyd became compliant and walked with Officer Lane to the sidewalk and sat on the ground at Officer Lane’s direction. In a conversation that lasted just under two minutes, Officer Lang asked Mr. Floyd for his name and identification. Officer Lane asked Mr. Lloyd if he was “on anything” and explained that he was arresting Mr. Lloyd for passing counterfeit currency.
Officers Kueng and Lane stood Mr. Floyd up and attempted to walk Mr. Floyd to their squad car (MPD 320) at 8:14 p.m. Mr. Floyd stiffened up, fell to the ground, and told the officers he was claustrophobic.
MPD Officers Derek Chauvin (the defendant) and Tou Thoa then arrived in a separate squad car. The officers made several attempts to get Mr. Floyd in the backseat of squad 320 from the driver’s side.
Mr. Floyd did not voluntarily get in the car and struggled with the officers by intentionally falling down, saying he was not going in the car, and refusing to stand still. Mr. Floyd is over six feet tall and weighs more than 200 pounds.
While standing outside the car, Mr. Floyd began saying and repeating that he could not breathe. The defendant went to the passenger side and tried to get Mr. Floyd into the car from that side and Lane and Kueng assisted.
The defendant pulled Mr. Floyd out of the passenger side of the squad car at 8:19:38 p.m. and Mr. Floyd went to the ground face down and still handcuffed. Kueng held Mr. Floyd’s back and Lane held his legs. The defendant placed his left knee in the area of Mr. Floyd’s head and neck. Mr. Floyd said, “I can’t breathe” multiple times and repeatedly said, “Mama” and “please,” as well. The defendant and the other two officers stayed in their positions.
The officers said, “You are talking fine” to Mr. Floyd as he continued to move back and forth. Lane asked, “should we roll him on his side?” and the defendant said, “No, staying put where we got him.” Officer Lane said, “I am worried about excited delirium or whatever.” The defendant said, “That’s why we have him on his stomach.” None of the three officers moved from their positions.
BWC video shows Mr. Floyd continue to move and breathe.
At 8:24:24, Mr. Floyd stopped moving.
At 8:25:31 the video appears to show Mr. Floyd ceasing to breathe or speak. Lane said, “want to roll him on his side.” Kueng checked Mr. Floyd’s right wrist for a pulse and said, “I couldn’t find one.” None of the officers moved from their positions.
At 8:27:24, the defendant removed his knee from Mr. Floyd’s neck. An ambulance and emergency medical personnel arrived, the officers placed Mr. Floyd on a gurney, and the ambulance left the scene. Mr. Floyd was pronounced dead at Hennepin County Medical Center.
#BREAKING: Charging documents from Hennepin County DA’s office shows former @MinneapolisPD officer #DerekChauvin had his knee on #GeorgeFloyd’s neck for nearly 9 minutes, nearly 3 minutes after he was unconscious.
— Jonathan McCall (@JonathanMcCall) May 29, 2020
— New York Post (@nypost) May 29, 2020
Here are some significant developments (Via The Washington Post):
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) said in an emotional news conference that the unrest that has destabilized Minneapolis and St. Paul this week is the result of ‘generations of pain, of anguish’ over racism in policing. “The fires still smolder in our streets,” he said. “The ashes are symbolic of decades and generations of pain, of anguish.”
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey announced a mandatory nighttime curfew this weekend. The curfew is in effect Friday and Saturday nights from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. It bans travel on any public street or in a public space in the city.
Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, during a virtual address called on every American to confront the nation’s historic racial injustices, and said those who remain silent are “complicit in perpetuating these cycles of violence.”
Minneapolis City Council Vice President Andrea Jenkins said Floyd and Chauvin knew each other for many years because they worked security at the same night club. Both men worked at El Nuevo Rodeo on Lake Street before their fatal encounter.
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison (D) encouraged residents to see the National Guard, which Walz activated late Thursday, as a calming force and not an occupying one.
President Trump denied that the phrase he used in early morning tweets, “when the looting starts, the shooting starts,” was meant as a threat. He distanced himself from the history of the phrase and said in a tweet what meant was he hadn’t wanted anyone else to get hurt.