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13th Apr 2021

George Floyd was killed by police, not heart or drug issues, says cardiologist

Charlie Herbert

The doctor said Floyd’s death was “absolutely preventable”

A cardiologist has told the court in Derek Chauvin’s trial that pre-existing heart conditions and drug use were not the causes of George Floyd’s death.

Former Minneapolis Police officer Chauvin is accused of killing Floyd by kneeling on his neck for over eight minutes, in an incident that sparked fury and protests against racial injustice across the United States and the world. His defence team are arguing that Floyd’s pre-existing health conditions and previous drug use were the main causes if his death, and not the actions of Chauvin.

However, cardiologist Dr Jonathan Rich has become the latest expert to disprove this argument. Dr Rich told the court that he could “state with a high level of medical certainty that George Floyd did not die from a primary cardiac event.”

Dr Rich said: “He was trying to get enough oxygen, and because he was unable to because of the position that he was subjected to, the heart didn’t have enough oxygen either, which means the entire body is deprived of oxygen.

“I can state with a high level of medical certainty that George Floyd did not die from a primary cardiac event, and he did not die from a drug overdose.”

He went on to say that in his opinion Floyd’s death was “absolutely preventable.”

“There was one moment in the video where I heard one of the officers say, ‘I think he’s passing out’. That would’ve been an opportunity to quickly remove him from that position of not getting enough oxygen, perhaps turn him into a recovery position, and allow him to start to expand his lungs again and bring in oxygen,’ Rich explained.

Dr Rich joins the list of medical experts who have appeared before the court and argued that pre-existing health conditions or drug-related issues were not the cause of George Floyd’s death.

The doctor who pronounced Floyd in the aftermath of the incident on 25 May 2020, told the court last week that he believed Floyd had suffered a cardiac arrest because of lack of oxygen. Dr Bradford Langenfeld said that based in the information available to him, oxygen deficiency was the likely cause of death.

He went on to say that the possibility that Floyd had suffered a heart attack was low because he had not reported chest pain or tried to clutch his chest.

The prosecution in the trial are nearing the end of their case, before Chauvin’s defense team will put forward their argument in an attempt to get an acquittal for the former police officer. They are expected to focus on three main arguments, in particular the theory that it was other factors that were the main causes for Floyd’s death.