Prosecution witness says George Floyd on the street in handcuffs was almost like having a lung removed

During the trial of former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin on Thursday, Dr. Martin Tobin, a physician in pulmonary and critical care medicine, said the way George Floyd was handcuffed and put on the street by police officers made it hard to breathe and was almost like having his left lung removed.

Video transcript

- Doctor, in this case, were you able to observe whether Mr Floyd's breathing was impacted by the handcuffs and the placement on the street?


- What did you observe, Dr. Tobin?

MARTIN TOBIN: What I observed is particularly is in terms of the hands of the police and the handcuffs, particularly on the left side. So they were forcing his left wrist up into his chest, forcing it in tight against his chest, forcing it high up. And you have to keep in mind that the opposite side of this is the street. So he was being squashed between the two sides.

And so this meant that he couldn't exert his pump handle because I mean, the street totally blocked his pump handle. There was no way he could do any front to back movement. And again, the way there were pressing in on the back, there was absolutely no way that he could do any front to back movement.

Then in addition, because of the knee that was rammed in against the left side of his chest-- sometimes the knee was down on the arm or in against the chest. So this would have the same effect. So basically, on the left side of his lung, it was almost like a surgical pneumonectomy. It was almost to the effect as if a surgeon had gone in and removed the lung, not quite but along those lines. So there was virtually fairly little opportunity for him to be able to get any air to move into the left side of his chest. So he was going to be totally dependent on what he'd be able to do with the right side.

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