Second Autopsy Rules George Floyd’s Death A Homicide

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A medical examiner on Monday classified George Floyd’s death as a homicide, saying his heart stopped as police restrained him and compressed his neck, in a widely seen video that has sparked protests across the nation.

“Decedent experienced a cardiopulmonary arrest while being restrained by law enforcement officer(s),” the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office said in a news release. Cause of death was listed as “cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint and neck compression.”

Under “other significant conditions” it said Floyd suffered from heart disease and hypertension, and listed fentanyl intoxication and recent methamphetamine use. Those factors were not listed under cause of death.


A Minneapolis police officer was charged last week with third-degree murder in Floyd’s death, and three other officers were fired. Bystander video showed the officer, Derek Chauvin, holding his knee on Floyd’s neck despite the man’s cries that he can’t breathe until he eventually stopped moving.

A separate autopsy commissioned for Floyd’s family also called his death a homicide. It concluded that that he died of asphyxiation due to neck and back compression, said the family’s attorney, Ben Crump, who called for the charge against Chauvin to be upgraded to first-degree murder and for three other officers to be charged. He didn’t say what the charges against the other officers should be.

That autopsy, by a forensic pathologist who also examined Eric Garner’s body, found the compression cut off blood to Floyd’s brain, and that the pressure of other officers’ knees on his back made it impossible for him to breathe, Crump said.

Both the medical examiner and the family’s experts differed from the description in last week’s criminal complaint against the officer of how Floyd died. The complaint, citing preliminary findings from the medical examiner, listed the effects of being restrained, along with underlying health issues and potential intoxicants in Floyd’s system. But it also said nothing was found “to support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxia or strangulation.” Neither side has released its full autopsy report so far.

The family’s autopsy found no evidence of heart disease and concluded he had been healthy.

Floyd, a black man who was in handcuffs at the time, died after Chauvin, who is white, ignored bystander shouts to get off Floyd and Floyd’s cries that he couldn’t breathe. His death sparked days of protests in Minneapolis and around America.