Minneapolis, MN – The Hennepin County medical examiner cited underlying health conditions and possible intoxicants in the death of 46-year-old Geroge Floyd but found no physical evidence that he had been suffocated or strangled by the Minneapolis police.
The findings were included in the criminal complaint used to charge former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter on Friday in connection with Floyd’s death during his arrest on Monday.
“The Hennepin County Medical Examiner (ME) conducted Mr. Floyd’s autopsy on May 26, 2020,” according to the complaint. “The full report of the ME is pending but the ME has made the following preliminary findings. 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 complaint continued. “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 complaint said that Officer Chauvin kept his knee on Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds in total, including 2 minutes and 56 seconds after he appeared to have lost consciousness.
The Hennepin County District Attorney’s Office charged former Officer Chauvin with murder based on the presumption that he knew that holding a suspect in that position was “inherently dangerous,” even though he didn’t directly kill Floyd, according to the complaint.
The charging documents said that incident began at about 8:08 p.m. on May 25 when Minneapolis Police Officers Thomas Lane and J.A. Kueng responded to a 911 call reporting that a man had used a $20 counterfeit bill at a deli called Cup Food in the 3700-block of Chicago Avenue.
When officers arrived, store management directed them to the suspect who was sitting in a parked car around the corner from the deli, according to the complaint.
The complaint said that Minneapolis police bodycam showed there were three people in the vehicle and Floyd was the driver.
Officer Keung talked to the passenger while Officer Lane ordered Floyd out of the car, the charging documents said.
Floyd did not comply with the officer’s commands so Officer Lane used hands to pull the driver out of the car.
The complaint said that Floyd actively resisted arrest while Officer Lane struggled to put handcuffs on the suspect, who was over 6 feet tall and weighed more than 200 pounds.
Floyd briefly complied with Officer Lane’s commanded after he was handcuffed, and permitted the officer to walk him over to sit on the sidewalk.
Officer Lane asked Floyd if he was “on anything” and explained why he was being arrested in a conversation that lasted fewer than two minutes, according to the charging documents.
But when Officers Lane and Kueng stood Floyd up to put him the back of the police car at 8:14 p.m., Floyd freaked out.
The complaint said the suspect stiffened up, dropped to the ground, and told the police officers that he suffered from claustrophobia.
That’s when Minneapolis Police Officers Derek Chauvin and Tou Thoa arrived on the scene to provide back up.
The charging documents said the officers made multiple attempts to put Floyd in the back of the police vehicle, but the suspect actively resisted.
“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,” the district attorney’s complaint said.
Floyd was still standing up beside the car when he first told officers that he could not breathe, according to the charging documents.
At that point Officer Chauvin went around to the driver’s side of the squad car and attempted to pull Floyd into the vehicle from that side, the complaint said.
The complaint said that at 8:19 p.m., Officer Chauvin put a handcuffed Floyd on the ground in a prone position.
Officer Chauvin put his knee “in the area of Mr. Floyd’s head and neck” while Officer Kueng held his back and Officer Lane held his legs, according to the charging documents.
The complaint said Floyd told officers “I can’t breathe” several times and repeatedly begged “please” and called for his “mama” while they held him still on the sidewalk.
Officer Lane expressed concerned about Floyd’s position but Officer Chauvin told him they were staying put and told him “That’s why we have him on his stomach,” the charging documents revealed.
Bodycam showed the officers held their positions on top of Floyd for almost 9 minutes.
During that time, Floyd stopped moving and breathing, according to the complaint.
Officer Lane again expressed concern and Officer Kueng checked Floyd’s pulse but did not find one, and yet the officers inexplicably continued to hold their positions on top of the unconscious suspect until EMS arrived on the scene, the charging documents said.
The charging documents said that Officer Chauvin removed his knee from Floyd’s neck at 8:27 p.m. and then the suspect was transported to the hospital.
The autopsy conducted on May 26 revealed no signs that Floyd had been suffocated or strangled during his arrest, according to the complaint.
Officer Chauvin was arrested and charged with Floyd’s murder on May 29.