Family autopsy says Floyd died of asphyxia from neck, back compression

Protests erupt in Minneapolis after death of George Floyd

Attorneys for the family of George Floyd, the unarmed black suspect who died while in Minneapolis police custody over Memorial Day weekend, said a second, independent autopsy conducted into Floyd's death show he died from asphyxia.

That asphyxia, according to well-known civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, was caused by neck and back compression placed by police officers on Floyd during his arrest over Memorial Day weekend.

“George died because he needed a breath,” Crump said during a Monday afternoon news conference. “I implore all of us to take a breath for justice, to take a breath for peace, to take a breath for our country and to take a breath for George.”

Crump said two “outstanding” doctors — Michael Baden and Allecia Wilson — conducted the autopsy. Baden is the former chief medical examiner of New York City, who was hired to conduct an autopsy of Eric Garner, a black man who died in 2014 after New York police placed him in a chokehold and he pleaded that he could not breathe.

Baden also conducted an independent autopsy of Michael Brown, an 18-year-old shot by police in Ferguson, Missouri. He said Brown's autopsy, requested by the teen's family, didn’t reveal signs of a struggle, casting doubt on a claim by police that a struggle between Brown and the officer led to the shooting.

The family’s autopsy differs from the official autopsy as described in a criminal complaint against the officer. That autopsy included the effects of being restrained, along with underlying health issues and potential intoxicants in Floyd’s system, but also said it found nothing “to support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxia or strangulation.”

The second autopsy released Monday stems from the criminal complaint against the officer allegedly involved in Floyd’s death.

Floyd, 46, died on Memorial Day. Video later emerged on social media showing the man on the ground with a police officer pressing his knee against Floyd’s neck. Footage released of the incident showed Floyd shouting, “I cannot breathe” and “Don’t kill me.”

Officers had responded to a call from a grocery store that claimed Floyd had allegedly used a forged check or a counterfeit bill.

One of the officers captured on video arresting Floyd, Derek Chauvin, has already been arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter. Three other officers — J Alexander Kueng, Thomas K. Lane and Tou Thao — are also in the video.

Floyd’s initial autopsy said the combined effects of being restrained, potential intoxicants in Floyd’s system and his underlying health issues, including heart disease, likely contributed to his death. It revealed nothing to support strangulation as the cause of death.

There were no other details about intoxicants, and toxicology results can take weeks. In the 911 call that drew police, the caller describes the man suspected of paying with counterfeit money as “awfully drunk and he’s not in control of himself.”

After Floyd apparently stopped breathing, Lane again said he wanted to roll Floyd onto his side. Kueng checked for a pulse and said he could not find one, according to the complaint.

On Sunday night, violence continued raging across the U.S. as several cities, including Atlanta, Washington, D.C., New York, Boston, Louisville, Kentucky, and others saw multiple arrests and countless instances of property damage.

After six consecutive days of unrest, America headed into a new workweek Monday with neighborhoods in shambles, urban streets on lockdown and political leaders struggling to control the coast-to-coast outpouring of rage over police killings of black people.

Despite curfews in big cities across the U.S. and the deployment of thousands of National Guard soldiers during the last week, demonstrations descended into violence again Sunday.

»Complete Coverage: Atlanta protests

Protesters hurled rocks and Molotov cocktails at police in Philadelphia, set a fire near the White House and were hit with tear gas and pepper spray in Austin, Texas, and other cities.

Seven Boston police officers were hospitalized. Police officers and National Guard soldiers enforcing a curfew in Louisville reportedly killed a man early Monday when they returned fire after someone in a large group shot at them first, police said.

In Indianapolis, two people were reported dead in bursts of downtown violence during the weekend, adding to deaths recorded in Detroit and Minneapolis.

In some cities, thieves smashed their way into stores and ran off with as much as they could carry, leaving shop owners, many of them just beginning to reopen their businesses after the coronavirus shutdowns, to clean up their shattered stores. In other places, police tried to calm tensions by kneeling in solidarity with demonstrators.

At least 4,400 people have been arrested for such offenses as stealing, blocking highways and breaking curfew, according to a count compiled by The Associated Press.

At the White House, the scene of three days of demonstrations, police fired tear gas and stun grenades Sunday into a crowd of more than 1,000 chanting protesters across the street in Lafayette Park.

The crowd ran, piling up road signs and plastic barriers to light a raging fire in a street nearby. Some pulled an American flag from a building and threw it into the flames. A building in the park with bathrooms and a maintenance office were burned down. The district’s entire National Guard — roughly 1,700 soldiers — was called in to help control the protests, according to Pentagon officials.

In New York, thieves raided luxury stores, including Chanel, Rolex and Prada boutiques.

In Birmingham, Alabama, a Confederate statue was toppled. In Salt Lake City, an activist leader condemned the destruction of property but said broken buildings shouldn’t be mourned on the same level as black men such as Floyd.

Thousands marched peacefully in Phoenix; Albuquerque, New Mexico; and other cities, with some calling for an end to the fires, vandalism and theft, saying the destruction weakens calls for justice and reform.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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