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The medical examiner who performed George Floyd's autopsy testified Friday that law enforcement's restraint and compression of Floyd's neck was "just more than [he] could take," given his heart's condition.

Why it matters: Andrew Baker, the Hennepin County medical examiner, is a key witness "for prosecutors who hope to convince jurors that Derek Chauvin killed Mr. Floyd when he knelt on him for more than nine minutes last May," the New York Times writes.

Flashback: Baker last year ruled Floyd’s death a homicide and listed the cause as “cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression.”

What they're saying: Baker testified he “intentionally” did not watch video of Floyd’s arrest prior to conducting the autopsy, saying he"did not want to bias my exam by going in with any preconceived notions that might lead me down one pathway or another."

  • In answering questions from the prosecution, Baker said Floyd's drug use and heart conditions were “contributing” factors but “not direct causes of Mr. Floyd’s death.”
  • “Mr. Floyd’s use of fentanyl did not cause the subdual or neck restraint. His heart disease did not cause the subdual or the neck restraint,” Baker testified.
  • “He has a heart that already needs more oxygen than a normal heart, by virtue of its size, and it’s limited in its ability to step up to provide more oxygen when there’s demand because of the narrowing of his coronary arteries,” Baker later said.
  • "In my opinion, the law enforcement subdual restraint and the neck compression was just more than Mr. Floyd could take by virtue of those heart conditions,” he added.
  • He later noted that the police restraint of Floyd "tipped him over the edge."

Chauvin's defense attorney has argued it was the condition of Floyd's heart and drug use, not their defendant's knee, that ultimately led to Floyd's death.

  • While under cross-examination Baker agreed that Floyd's heart disease and drug use "played a role," he said they were not the primary cause of death.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Forensic pathologist: George Floyd died from neck restraint

A veteran forensic pathologist testified Friday that the position of George Floyd's body appeared to show he could not get enough oxygen before he died, and that "there's no evidence to suggest that he would have died that night except for the interactions with law enforcement."

Why it matters: Her testimony confirms autopsies that show Floyd died from "asphyxia due to neck and back compression that led to a lack of blood flow to the brain," after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on Floyd's neck for over nine minutes.

Respiratory expert says preexisting conditions did not cause George Floyd's death

Pulmonary expert Dr. Martin Tobin on Thursday testified Thursday that George Floyd's preexisting conditions had nothing to do with his death.

Why it matters: Tobin said that in his opinion, Floyd died from a lack of oxygen caused by former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on his body. An ER doctor earlier this week similarly testified at Chauvin's trial that Floyd's death was most likely caused by a lack of oxygen.

Apr 9, 2021 - Podcasts

Second week of Chauvin trial wraps up

The second week of the trial over George Floyd's death. The Minneapolis Police chief testified Derek Chauvin did not act according to MPD policy.

  • Plus, U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) on her family’s brush with AAPI hate.
  • And, how accurate is the movie Contagion?