George Floyd died from low level of oxygen, leading lung expert tells court

George Floyd died from low level of oxygen, leading lung expert tells court

Mr Chauvin, 45, is on trial charged with second-degree mur-der and man-slaughter and third-degree mur-der. 

The defence has argued that Mr Chauvin was doing “exactly what he had been trained to do over his 19-year career” when Mr Floyd was arrested for allegedly using a counterfeit $20 bill in a Minneapolis shop last May.  

But the testimony by Dr Tobin on Thursday was designed to preempt and undercut the defence’s claim that fentanyl found in Mr Floyd’s system combined with existing heart disease led to his dea-th.

Dr Tobin, an Irish native with decades of experience in pulmonology, is a specialist at a major Chicago hospital and teaches at the city’s Loyola University.

He told jurors he had declined to be paid for his testimony in the Minneapolis courtroom, but thought his knowledge would help “explain how Mr Floyd died“.

He described how Mr Chauvin’s knee on the left side of Mr Floyd’s chest would have restricted the amount of air being able to enter, comparing it “almost to the effect as if a surgeon had gone in and removed the lung”.

He was emphatic in declaring that any fentanyl in Mr Floyd’s system was “not having an effect” on his breathing.

“A healthy person subjected to what Mr Floyd was subjected to would have died as a result of what he was subjected to,” he added.

Dr Tobin said he had reviewed footage of the fatal arrest and concluded Mr Chauvin’s knee was “virtually on the neck for the vast majority of time”.

He also outlined how the actions of another officer, J Alexander Kueng, further impaired Mr Floyd’s ability to breathe.

Mr Keung held Mr Floyd’s left hand upward while Mr Chauvin’s right knee compressed his side, meaning the unarmed and handcuffed man’s ability to expand his left side was “enormously impaired.”

“It’s how the handcuffs are being held, how they’re being pushed, where they’re being pushed that totally interfere with central features of how we breathe,” he said.

Dr Tobin also showed images of Mr Floyd’s finger and knuckles digging into the ground as police held him down.

“To most people this doesn’t look terribly significant. But to a physiologist this is extraordinarily significant because this tells you that he has used up his resources and he is now literally trying to breathe with his fingers and knuckles,” he said.

The trial continues.

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