George Floyd's death has been ruled a homicide in the latest report from the Hennepin County Medical Examiner.
In a report released on Monday afternoon, the medical examiner listed the 46-year-old truck driver's manner of death as a homicide.
Floyd died on May 25 in police custody after Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin pinned him to the ground for several minutes with a knee on the unarmed man's neck, despite his repeated cries of "I can't breathe." The killing was caught on camera, quickly going viral and causing national outrage at Floyd's unjust death.
The medical examiner's report listed Floyd's cause of death as "cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression."
The report also said that Floyd "experienced a cardiopulmonary arrest while being restrained by law enforcement officer(s)."
Ben Crump Law Firm George Floyd
The report stated that "other significant conditions" found showed "arteriosclerotic and hypertensive heart disease; fentanyl intoxication; recent methamphetamine use."
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid pain reliever typically used to treat severe cancer pain, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Ben Crump Law Firm George Floyd
"However, most recent cases of fentanyl-related harm, overdose, and death in the U.S. are linked to illegally made fentanyl," the CDC says. "It is sold through illegal drug markets for its heroin-like effect. It is often mixed with heroin and/or cocaine as a combination product—with or without the user’s knowledge—to increase its euphoric effects."
Earlier on Monday, Floyd's family attorney Benjamin Crump said during a press conference that an independent autopsy concluded that he died of asphyxiation due to neck and back compression from being subdued by more than one officer.
Chauvin, the officer who pinned Floyd to the ground, has been charged with third-degree murder, which carries a maximum prison sentence of 25 years. He and the three other officers present were fired from the Minneapolis police department last week.
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Floyd's family is seeking a first-degree murder charge to be filed against Chauvin.
"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 at the press conference. "The ambulance was his hearse."
A preliminary autopsy by the Hennepin County Medical Examiner concluded there were "no physical findings that support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxia or strangulation," PEOPLE previously reported. The preliminary autopsy report stated that he died from the "combined effects of Mr. Floyd being restrained by the police, his underlying health conditions and any potential intoxicants in his system likely contributed to his death."
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However, the report of forensic pathologist Michael Baden — who performed the independent autopsy — found that “the compressive pressure of the neck and back are not seen at [the preliminary] autopsy because the pressure has been released by the time the body comes to the medical examiner’s office.”
"It can only be seen as serious compressive pressure on the neck and back while the pressure is being applied or as in this instance when it is captured on video," Baden said.
Christopher Harris via AP George Floyd
"When he said 'I can’t breathe,' unfortunately many police are under the impression if you can talk you are breathing," he said. "That is not true. The concept that a person says 'I can’t breathe' in this instance means you should take it seriously."
Crump added at the Monday press conference, "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."
Mert Alper Dervis/Anadolu Agency via Getty Protesters hold up signs in Vancouver, British Columbia
"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," the attorney added.
Floyd's death has caused outrage across the United States and the globe, spurring protests in several cities including New York, Atlanta, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles and Minneapolis, where he was killed.
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