The family of George Floyd commissioned an autopsy and released its results today. It’s top finding contradicts the autopsy done by Hennepin County last week, reports the StarTribune.
Attorneys representing George Floyd’s family released findings of their own autopsy that say he was asphyxiated while Minneapolis police officers knelt on his back and neck, pinning him to the ground.
The findings directly challenged preliminary results from the examination by the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office that there were “no physical findings” of asphyxia, but he instead died from other factors, including being restrained.
The official autopsy found that Floyd died from underlying health issues, but even assuming that was true, Officer Chauvin kneeling on his neck for about 9 minutes deprived him of air.
The third-degree murder charge the district attorney leveled at Chauvin today is based on the official autopsy, which made Chauvin less directly responsible for Floyd’s death. The family-commissioned autopsy, if accurate, may open the way for first-degree murder.
Minnesota does not have the death penalty, so capital murder has never been on the table. The differences between first- and third-degree are significant. Third-degree murder does not require intent to kill. First-degree murder sometimes does, but is generally reserved for aggravating behaviors by the defendant. The state statute speaks to premeditation, which a jury could see in Chauvin’s decision to continue kneeling on Floyd’s neck, and adjusting his knee several times, apparently to maintain his position on Floyd, long after Floyd stated that he could not breathe.
Murder 3 has a maximum sentence of 25 years, while a conviction for first-degree murder can result in a life sentence.
The question now, is which autopsy is right?