The Hennepin County Medical Examiner has given a Press Release that updates the complaint’s initial claims and provides information on the toxicology of George Floyd’s system. It can be accessed in full using this link.
Cause and Manner of Death
The cause of death is described this way:
Cause of death: Cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual restraint, and neck compression
The phrase “cause of death” is a technical term and has technical application. While normal people may say a person died because they slipped on ice and fell down the concrete steps, the technical “cause of death” would be “blunt force trauma to the head” and not “ice.”
Cardiopulmonary arrest means “the heart and lungs stop.” Subdual means “relating to being subdued.” The other words are what the look like. In other words, George Floyd died because his heart and lungs stopped, complicated by law enforcement’s restraints to subdue him. Also related was the neck compression.
The “manner of death” is “homicide.” But as was shared in a previous post, “homicide” does not mean “murder.” All a homicide means is that someone else caused the person’s death. This section is ruled by statute. The statute at issue in Minnesota seems to be this one. There are not too many options that apply, but it is not too surprising that “homicide” was included, as it seems that someone else was involved in George Floyd’s death.
And while this may seem to point towards a causal relationship between the officer’s restraint and the cardiopulmonary arrest, this step is not taken, because in the section “How injury occurred,” the following description is given:
Decedent experienced a cardiopulmonary arrest while being restrained by law enforcement officer(s)
What is significant is the presence of the word “while” and that absence of the word “because.”
In other words, the heart and lungs stopped during the time George Floyd was being subdued. Never is it said that George Floyd’s heart and lungs stopped because he was being subdued.
Intoxicants in his system
The press release also includes this information:
Other significant conditions: Arteriosclerotic and hypertensive heart disease; fentanyl intoxication; recent methamphetamine use
Arteriosclerotic means “hardening or thickening of the walls of the arteries.” Hypertensive heart disease is basically high blood pressure. These are common medical problems experienced by millions of Americans.
Fentanyl, according to the CDC, is a synthetic opioid pain reliever, approved for treating severe pain, typically advanced cancer pain. It is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. It has been sold through illegal markets and is currently the most frequent drug seen in overdoses in the United States.
Methamphetamine, according to the CDC, is a powerful, highly addictive stimulant that affects the central nervous system. Additionally, according to the medical report often cited in this series, it is one of the several stimulative drugs associated with Excited Delirium (EXD). The most common drug associated with EXD is cocaine.
Putting All the Evidence Together
My previous posts include the following:
- An overview of the video evidence, with an addendum on the original 911 call.
- An overview with the problems of the legal prosecution of Derek Chauvin, and by extension, the other 3 officers.
- An overview of the problems of evidence which were made clear in the independent autopsy press conference, including a description of EXD.
- A plea for everyone to individually do the work to heal our nation in the face of riots and unrest, including a description of the danger of EXD.
Putting all this information together, there seems to be a somewhat clearer picture of what happened to George Floyd.
At 8:01 pm, a store manager at Cup Foods calls 911. While the call mentions paying for items with a counterfeit bill, the majority of the call centers on the observation:
He’s sitting on his car cause he is awfully drunk and he’s not in control of himself.
Based on what we now know, the reason he was not in control of himself and appeared “awfully drunk” is that he was intoxicated with fentanyl.
At 8:08, the police arrive on scene, with George Floyd still in the driver’s seat of the vehicle that the store manager approached to try to get George Floyd to return the items due to the counterfeit bill.
Video evidence shows that George Floyd was in the driver’s seat of the vehicle. It is possible that the reason George Floyd was still in this same location is that he attempted to injest the stimulant of methamphetamine to counteract the fentanyl’s heavy opioid effect.
He is arrested and handcuffed and allowed to sit against the adjacent building while an officer questions him. An ambulance is called before he is ever restrained.
At 8:14pm, he is escorted without incident to the police vehicle. There, he begins to resist.
At 8:19 pm, George Floyd is moved to the street in a face-down position where the famous cell-phone video begins to record. The officers at this time believe that he is experiencing EXD. Three officers hold George Floyd down during the video we have all watched.
At 8:24pm, George Floyd appears to have stopped moving.
At 8:25pm, George Floyd appears to have stopped breathing.
At 8:27pm, the ambulance arrives, where they find George Floyd with no pulse.
At 9:25pm, George Floyd is pronounced dead.
Additional Information in the Press Release
Additional information from the Press Release includes that Mr. Floyd’s full name is George Perry Floyd.
He was 46 years old.
He was pronounced dead at 9:25p.m. on May 25, 2020.
Like the overwhelming majority of the 67,367 who died of a drug overdose in 2018 or the 70,237 who died of a drug overdose in 2017, he was a good person, and our country has lost something strong and good and powerful at his death. We are losing even more as riots continue across our country.
“Yet even now,” declares the Lord,
“return to me with all your heart,
with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;
and rend your hearts and not your garments.”
Return to the Lord your God,
for he is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love;
and he relents over disaster.
Who knows whether he will not turn and relent,
and leave a blessing behind him,
a grain offering and a drink offering
for the Lord your God?