Baker said engaging in a brawl increases adrenaline, which prompts the heart to beat even faster and provide more oxygen.
“And in my opinion, the law enforcement subduals, restraint and neck compressions were just more than Mr. Floyd could take from those heart conditions,” said the coroner.
Chauvin, 45, is charged with the murder and manslaughter of Floyd’s May 25th death. Floyd was arrested outside a neighborhood market after he was accused of trying to hand over a fake $ 20 bill.
The bystander video of Floyd crying he couldn’t breathe as viewers yelled at the white officer to get rid of him sparked protests and dispersed violence across the United States.
Chauvin attorney Eric Nelson has argued that the now-dismissed white officer did what he was trained to do and that Floyd’s illegal drug use and underlying health conditions, not Chauvin’s knee, killed him. The autopsy found fentanyl and methamphetamine in Floyd’s system.
When cross-examined, Baker agreed with Nelson’s testimony that Floyd’s heart disease, narrowed arteries, and drug use “played a role” in Floyd’s death, although he testified that these things did not cause death.
As he questioned by the prosecutor: “Mr. Floyd’s use of fentanyl caused no subdual or neck brace. His heart disease caused neither the subdual nor the neck brace. “
A medical expert testifying Thursday said a healthy person exposed to what Floyd endured would have died.
Baker testified that his examination of Floyd’s heart showed no “previous damage, visible or microscopic” to the heart muscle. Baker also said he had not noticed any injury to Floyd’s brain from trauma or starvation. And he said he didn’t notice any pills or pill fragments in Floyd’s stomach.
Baker also said he did not see the harrowing video of the arrest before investigating Floyd so that he would not be influenced by what he saw.
“I knew at least one video had gone viral on the internet, but I made a deliberate decision not to watch it until I examined Mr. Floyd,” he said. “I didn’t want to influence my exam with preconceived ideas that could lead me one way or the other.”
Other medical experts called as prosecutors have also traced Floyd’s death to the way he was held on the ground.
Dr. Lindsey Thomas, a forensic pathologist who retired from the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office in 2017 and did not work on Floyd’s case, testified earlier Friday that she agreed with Baker’s findings but was even more explicit and said the “primary mechanism of death.” Was suffocation or insufficient oxygen.
She said she came to this conclusion mainly from a video in which Floyd was having difficulty breathing.
“This is a death where both the heart and lungs have stopped working. The point is that it’s because of the subduality, reluctance and compression of law enforcement, ”said Thomas.
During the cross-examination, Nelson asked Thomas what could cause a heart to suddenly stop beating. He found that Floyd’s bigger heart needed more blood and worked hard in a moment of stress and adrenaline, and that one of his arteries was 90% blocked.
Thomas said any blockade above 70% to 75% could be used to explain death if no other cause is present. But she also said that some people can live well with an artery that is completely blocked.
The defense attorney urged Thomas by asking a hypothetical question.
“Let’s say you found Mr. Floyd dead in his apartment. No police involvement, no drugs, right? The only thing you found would be these facts about his heart. What would you consider the cause of death?” Nelson asked .
“Under these very narrow circumstances, I would probably conclude that the cause of death was his heart disease,” replied Thomas.
In response to another hypothesis by Nelson, she agreed that if there were no other explanations, she would confirm Floyd’s death as an overdose.
During re-interrogation, District Attorney Jerry Blackwell mocked the attorney’s hypotheses and quickly had Thomas reiterate that the cause of Floyd’s death was police reluctance.
“Aren’t these questions much like asking questions?” Lincoln, if we take out John Wilkes Booth … ”Blackwell began before Nelson objected.
For the first time, a seat for Chauvin’s family was occupied by a woman on Friday. She was not identified immediately. Chauvin’s marriage ended in divorce in the months following Floyd’s death.
Also on Friday, Judge Peter Cahill called a jury and asked her if she had been exposed to outside influences. She replied that she briefly watched TV coverage with the sound off and that her mother-in-law texted her, “Looks like it’s a bad day,” but she didn’t answer.
The judge allowed her to stay on the jury.