Maryland’s former chief medical officer testified on Wednesday for Derek Chauvin’s defense that George Floyd died of his underlying heart disease – not police reluctance.
“In my opinion, due to his arteriosclerosis and hypertensive heart disease, Mr. Floyd had a sudden arrhythmia or arrhythmia … during his restraint and subduality by the police,” said Dr. David Fowler, a forensic pathologist.
Floyd had coronary arteries known as atherosclerosis and an enlarged heart narrowed due to his high blood pressure or high blood pressure, Fowler said. Floyd’s use of fentanyl and methamphetamine and a tumor known as paraganglioma were other important conditions that contributed to his death, he said.
Fowler also advanced a new argument that carbon monoxide from the police car’s exhaust may have contributed to his death.
Overall, he said Floyd’s death should have been classified as “indefinite” rather than murder because there were so many competing causes.
The testimony cuts off the prosecutor’s argument, backed by five different medical experts, that Floyd’s main cause of death was Chauvin’s reluctance to handcuff Floyd in the prone position – known as “positional asphyxia”. To get a guilty verdict, prosecutors must prove that Chauvin’s actions were a “major causal factor” in Floyd’s death.
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