MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota — An independent autopsy ordered by George Floyd's family found his "homicide" was "caused by asphyxia due to neck and back compression that led to a lack of blood flow to the brain," according to early findings from the examination released Monday.
The independent examiners found that found that Floyd died of asphyxiation due to neck and back compression when a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck for several minutes and ignored his cries of distress, the Floyd family’s attorneys said.
In other words, the autopsy found the compression cut off blood to Floyd’s brain, and weight on his back made it hard to breathe.
The family’s autopsy differs from the official autopsy as described in a criminal complaint against the officer.
Dr. Michael Baden and the University of Michigan Medical School's director of autopsy and forensic services, Dr. Allecia Wilson, handled the examination, according to family attorney Ben Crump.
Baden, who was New York's medical examiner in 1978 and 1979, had previously performed independent autopsies on Eric Garner, who was killed by a police officer in Staten Island, New York, in 2014 and Michael Brown, who was shot by officers in Ferguson, Missouri, that same year.
Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter after he was videotaped putting his knee on Floyd's neck during an arrest on May 25, prosecutors said.
Floyd, a black man who was in handcuffs at the time, died after the white officer ignored bystander shouts to get off him as well as Floyd’s cries. Floyd was heard saying "I can't breathe," while the officer had him pinned for nearly nine minutes, according to the criminal complaint.
Three other officers who were involved in the arrest have been fired but haven't been charged as of Monday afternoon.
The complaint said the official examination of Floyd's body by the medical examiner is still ongoing, but prosecutors provided some information about this death. This is separate from the independent autopsy requested by Floyd's family.
The medical examiner initial findings revealed no physical findings “to support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxia or strangulation," according to the complaint. Floyd had underlying health conditions including coronary artery disease and hypertensive heart disease, the complaint said.
Floyd's death has sparked days of protests in Minneapolis that have spread to cities around America.