In the final moments of his life, George Floyd was so desperate for air that he resorted to trying to use his fingers, knuckles, and shoulder muscles to position himself to breathe while being pinned down by former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, a medical expert testified Thursday.
Dr. Martin Tobin, a pulmonary and critical medicine doctor with 45 years of experience, was called on by the prosecution as an outside expert witness to testify about Floyd's cause of death, which is at the center of Chauvin's murder trial in Minneapolis.
Prosecutors say that Chauvin's knee on Floyd's neck contributed to his death. The defense argues that Floyd's use of illicit drugs and underlying medical conditions were the key factors.
Tobin testified that Floyd died due to a low level of oxygen caused by the combination of being handcuffed in the prone position on the ground and Chauvin's left knee on his neck and right knee on his back, compromising his ability to breathe.
The jury was shown an image from an officer's body camera video in which Floyd's knuckles are seen pressed against the tire of the squad car while Chauvin's knees are on his neck and back.
Tobin said that while this gesture would not seem important to most people, it was "extraordinarily significant" to a physiologist.
"This tells you that [Floyd] has used up his resources, and he's now literally trying to breathe with his fingers and knuckles," Tobin said.
Read More (...)