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Newly-Released Evidence Shows Coroner Said George Floyd’s Death Looked Like An Overdose

Minneapolis, MN – Six pieces of new evidence were filed in the George Floyd case on Tuesday after attorneys for former Minneapolis Police Officer Tou Thao requested the release of full autopsy reports from the medical examiner.

Former Officer Thao’s attorneys requested the judge order the Hennepin County medical examiner to release the full autopsy reports on Monday, KMSP reported.

The attorneys wanted access to the complete reports from the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office, the Armed Forces medical examiner, and the private examination conducted by forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Baden at the behest of the family.

The report from the Armed Forces medical examiner revealed that doctor agreed with the Hennepin County medical examiner’s final pronouncement that Floyd’s death was a homicide, KMSP reported.

“His death was caused by the police subdual and restraint in the setting of severe hypertensive atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, and methamphetamine and fentanyl intoxication,” the Armed Forces medical examiner said in a memo.

However, two other memos that were entered into evidence on Aug. 25 painted a very different picture of Floyd’s cause of death, according to KMSP.

A May 26 memo written by the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office said Hennepin County Medical Examiner Dr. Andrew Baker had told them he didn’t think Floyd had died of asphyxiation.

“The autopsy revealed no physical evidence suggesting that Mr. Floyd died of asphyxiation,” Baker told prosecutors, according to the memo.

But at the point, he hadn’t gotten the toxicology results back.

A second memo entered into the prosecutor’s file against former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin showed that the medical examiner said he thought it was likely that Floyd had died from an overdose, KMSP reported.

Baker told prosecutors on June 1 that Floyd had a “pretty high” and potentially “fatal level” of fentanyl in his system when he died.

“[Dr. Andrew Baker] said that if Mr. Floyd had been found dead in his home (or anywhere else) and there were no other contributing factors he would conclude that it was an overdose death,” the prosecutor’s memo about the conversation with the medical examiner read.

Former Officer Thao’s attorneys have filed a motion to dismiss the two aiding-and-abetting charges citing a lack of probable cause.

An attorney for one of the other officers charged in Floyd’s death filed a motion to dismiss the charges against his client, too, on Aug. 18 claiming that Floyd had actually overdosed on fentanyl while resisting arrest.

Earl Gray, the attorney for former Minneapolis Police Officer Thomas Lane, said in the motion that Floyd swallowed fentanyl tablets while the officers were trying to take him into custody, KMSP reported.

Gray said that the bodycam video of Floyd’s arrest showed a white spot on his tongue that disappeared a moment later.

In the motion to dismiss, former Officer Lane’s attorney argued it looked like Floyd was swallowing “2 milligrams of fentanyl, a lethal dose” in order to avoid being caught holding the drugs, KMSP reported.

“All he had to do is sit in the police car, like every other defendant who is initially arrested. While attempting to avoid his arrest, all by himself, Mr. Floyd overdosed on Fentanyl,” Gray wrote in the court filing. “Given his intoxication level, breathing would have been difficult at best. Mr. Floyd’s intentional failure to obey commands, coupled with his overdosing, contributed to his own death.”

He argued there was no evidence to establish probable cause that his client had contributed to Floyd’s death, KMSP reported.

Written by
Sandy Malone

Managing Editor - Twitter/@SandyMalone_ - Prior to joining The Police Tribune, Sandy wrote the Politics.Net column for the Wall Street Journal and was managing editor of Campaigns & Elections magazine. More recently, she was an internationally-syndicated columnist for Conde Nast (BRIDES), The Huffington Post, and Monsters and Critics. Sandy is married to a retired police captain and former SWAT commander.

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Written by Sandy Malone

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