George Floyd: Probably Wasn’t the Cop Kneeling on this Neck That Killed Him, by Clarice Feldman.
Is the video the best evidence of what occurred? No. The best evidence is the footage taken from the body cams worn by the four officers on the scene; evidence Minneapolis authorities have failed to disclose. If your impression from the video or Dr. Baden’s interview (the examiner hired by the Floyd family) is that Floyd was asphyxiated, the only forensic evidence shows that he was not. The medical examiner, who was the only person to have conducted an autopsy, indicates Floyd was not asphyxiated. Here are the key findings in his report.
- Arteriosclerotic heart disease, multifocal, severe
- Cardiomegaly (540 g) with mild biventricular dilatation
- Clinical history of hypertension
There were “No injuries of anterior muscles of neck or laryngeal structures” and “No facial, oral, mucosal, or conjunctival petechiae” (These are tiny red marks that are important signs of asphyxia caused by airway obstruction. If there had been any, it might indicate death by strangulation, hanging or smothering.)
He also tested positive for COVID-19 [a respiratory disease].
Even more striking are the autopsy toxicology findings. In his system they found:
- Fentanyl 11 ng/mL.
- Norfentanyl 5.6 ng/mL
- 4-ANPP 0.65 ng/mL
- Methamphetamine 19 ng/mL
- 11-Hydroxy Delta-9 THC 1.2 ng/ml
- Cotinine positive
- Caffeine positive
In sum, he was high on drugs at the time of his death. The fentanyl itself was four times the level known to cause fatalities, reports Paul Sperry, and on top of that he had speed and marijuana in his system. The arresting officer said he was foaming at the mouth and a close look at the video indicates this was so. Interestingly, none of the charges against any of the officers claim Floyd’s death was intentionally inflicted.
Given the huge drug load in Floyd’s system, we might also look at what is called “excited delirium” about which Officer Chauvin expressed concern when he restrained Floyd. Mark Wauck explains:
The Western Journal of Emergency Medicine says that “Excited delirium is characterized by agitation, aggression, acute distress and sudden death, often in the pre-hospital care setting. It is typically associated with the use of drugs. Subjects typically die from a heart attack and the majority of the patients die before hospital arrival.”
“All accounts describe almost the exact same sequence of events: delirium with agitation (fear, panic, shouting, violence and hyperactivity), sudden cessation of struggle, respiratory arrest and death.”
Once again, the body camera footage showing the initial encounter, discussions among officers and the call to paramedics about the issue of excited delirium will be a major factor in this case.
I don’t relate these things for you to judge what happened. That’s why we have trials … People demanding instant retribution are simply modern-day advocates for lynching.
Pundits right and left calling his death “murder” might take some time to look at the autopsy report and wait for the body cam footage. These things will certainly be evidence at trial, a long time after the fervid reporting and the response to it.
The whole “hands up, don’t shoot” scenario that started off the Black Lives Matter movement was later found to be completely false, and a fabrication to boot. Nonetheless, the left persists in repeating it as if it were true. Even if autopsies and trials eventually find Floyd died of his drugs, it won’t make any difference to the left. They have such a postmodern disregard for truth in pursuit of power.
There are dueling examinations. The one above is by the (local) Hennepin County Medical Examiner, and includes an autopsy.
The other examination was by an examiner hired by Floyd’s family, former NYC medical examiner Dr. Michael Baden. He also performed a private autopsy on Michael Brown (how’s that for credible?). His report found that death was caused by compression of his neck and back by Minneapolis police officers.
Now that ideology and politics is involved, the truth will never be known or widely acknowledged. But no matter how you cut it, that video of a cop kneeling on his neck looked awful.
hat-tip Stephen Harper