MINNEAPOLIS (Reuters) – A critical care doctor called as a prosecution witness in Derek Chauvin’s murder trial testified on Thursday that George Floyd died from a lack of oxygen caused by being handcuffed face down in the street with the former Minneapolis police officer’s knee on his neck.
“Mr. Floyd died from a low level of oxygen,” Dr. Martin Tobin, who treats patients in a Chicago hospital’s intensive care unit, told the jury, confirming the county medical examiner’s finding that Floyd’s death was a homicide at the hands of police.
Using anatomical diagrams and excerpts from videos of the arrest, Tobin said the medical evidence contradicted Chauvin’s assertion that Floyd may have died from a drug overdose, and that any “healthy person” would have died in a similar restraint, which Tobin compared to a vice.
Video of the arrest, widely viewed on social media, showed Chauvin, who is white, pinning Floyd’s neck to the ground with his knees for more than nine minutes as Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, begged for his life, gasping more than two dozen times: “I can’t breathe.” Chauvin has pleaded not guilty to murder and manslaughter charges.