The family of George Floyd, the 46-year-old unarmed black man who was killed last Monday in Minneapolis when a white officer pinned him to the ground with a knee on his neck, says an independent autopsy showed he died from asphyxia — and they want first-degree murder charges filed against the officer.
Currently, the officer, Derek Chauvin, faces a charge of third-degree murder, which carries a maximum prison sentence of 25 years. Chauvin and the three other officers present were fired from their jobs.
At a press conference Monday, the family’s attorney Benjamin Crump said the independent autopsy performed on Floyd concluded that he died of asphyxiation due to neck and back compression from being subdued by more than one officer.
"The officers killed him based on a knee to his neck for almost nine minutes, and two knees to his back compressing his lungs,” Crump said. "The ambulance was his hearse."
Later that day, the Hennepin County Medical Examiner concluded that Floyd's death was "cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint and neck compression."
The examiner said the manner of death was homicide.
According to the examiner, Floyd experienced a cardiopulmonary arrest while he was being restrained by officers.
Other "significant" conditions included Arteriosclerotic and hypertensive heart disease, fentanyl intoxication and recent methamphetamine use.
Christopher Harris via AP George Floyd
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The independent autopsy disagreed with the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s initial finding that underlying health conditions may have contributed to Floyd’s death.
BACKGRID Derek Chauvin
"The knee to the neck and the knees to his back both contributed to him not being able to breathe, and what those officers did that we see on the video is the cause of George's death, not some underlying, unknown health condition. George Floyd was a healthy young man,” said Crump. “Beyond question, he would be alive today if not for the pressure applied to his neck by fired officer Derek Chauvin and the strain on his body from the two additional officers kneeing him in his back.”
Since Floyd's death, outrage has carried on in the form of protests throughout U.S. cities like Minneapolis, New York, Atlanta, Washington D.C. and Los Angeles, where acts of violence occurred over the weekend by both the demonstrators and the police.