George Floyd died not just because of the knee lodged at his neck by a Minneapolis Police officer, but also because of the other officers who helped hold him down, a private autopsy found.
Dr. Allecia M. Wilson of the University of Michigan and Dr. Michael Baden, a former New York City medical examiner, were hired by Mr. Floyd’s family to help determine his cause of death.
“Not only was the knee on George’s neck a cause of his death, but so was the weight of the other two police officers on his back, who not only prevented blood flow into his brain but also air flow into his brain,” said Antonio Romanucci, a lawyer for the family.
Benjamin Crump, the family’s lead lawyer, said emergency medical records showed Mr. Floyd was dead at the scene.
“For George Floyd, the ambulance was his hearse,” Mr. Crump said.
The knee to his back compressed his lungs and prevented them from being able to take air in and out, he said.
The findings differed substantially from what prosecutors have said about the conclusions of the Hennepin County medical examiner. The criminal complaint filed in the case said that the county autopsy “revealed no physical findings that support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxia or strangulation.”
The full report from the medical examiner is still pending.
Prosecutors intimated in the criminal complaint that other factors were involved in Mr. Floyd’s death, including coronary artery disease and hypertensive heart disease. “The combined effects of Mr. Floyd being restrained by the police, his underlying health conditions and any potential intoxicants in his system likely contributed to his death,” the criminal complaint said.
But Dr. Baden said: “The autopsy shows that Mr. Floyd had no underlying medical problem that caused or contributed to his death. This is confirmed by information provided to Dr. Wilson and myself by the family.”