New information released with the full autopsy of George Floyd will likely only lead to more controversy surrounding his death last week after a white Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes.
According to the report, Floyd tested positive for the coronavirus, among other notable factors.
The Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office also found he was under the influence of several narcotics.
“Asphyxiation from sustained pressure”
As NPR reported, the autopsy is 20 pages long and shows that Floyd had both fentanyl and methamphetamine in his system at the time of his death.
Medical examiners also noted traces of cannabinoids, though these markers tend to stay in one’s system longer, so it is unclear how recently he had used cannabis.
The official cause of death, however, is listed as “cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression.”
That finding is different than the result of an independent team of medical examiners hired by Floyd’s family, which found that he died as a result of “asphyxiation from sustained pressure” by ex-officer Darren Chauvin, who now faces a murder charge.
“We will seek justice for him”
These reports came as Keith Ellison, Minnesota’s attorney general, announced the count would be upgraded from third-degree to second-degree murder, as the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported. He further confirmed that three officers who stood by as Floyd pleaded for air would face varying degrees of charges related to aiding and abetting the murder.
“To the Floyd family, to our beloved community, and to everyone that is watching, I say: George Floyd mattered. He was loved. His life was important. His life had value,” Ellison said after announcing the new charges. “We will seek justice for him and for you and we will find it.”
The county attorney’s office has updated its filing against Chauvin, citing the “inherently dangerous” technique Chauvin used to restrain Floyd.
“Officer Chauvin’s restraint of Mr. Floyd in this manner for a prolonged period was a substantial factor in Mr. Floyd losing consciousness, constituting substantial bodily harm, and Mr. Floyd’s death as well,” the complaint reads, according to the Star-Tribune.
Even as a criminal trial is just beginning, protests in response to Floyd’s death are already well into their second week. Hopefully, a resolution in this case and unifying leadership from officials at every level will provide some much-needed healing to a deeply divided nation.