George Floyd’s death caused by cops holding him down, medical expert testifies

While former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin is in prison after being convicted for the murder of George Floyd, three other officers were back in federal court this week with regard to an ongoing civil trial.

According to Fox News, the civil trial is making headlines, as Dr. David Systrom, a pulmonologist and critical care physician at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital, testified under oath that Floyd’s death was a result of actions taken by Chauvin and the three additional officers involved in the struggle. 

The medical expert told the court in his Monday testimony that Floyd’s chances of survival could have “doubled or tripled” had Chauvin not placed his knee on the man’s neck during the arrest, and if the other officers involved would have changed Floyd’s position on the ground.

Dr. Systrom insisted that the flow of oxygen was restricted and carbon dioxide levels quickly raised given Floyd’s position on the ground, ultimately leading to his demise.

The civil trial

Former Minneapolis Police Officers J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane, and Tou Thao all appeared in court Monday during the ongoing federal civil rights trial with regard to Floyd’s death.

The three officers have been charged with “willfully depriving Floyd of his constitutional rights while acting under government authority,” noted Fox News. The allegation is that the way they handled the situation is what resulted in Floyd’s death, contrary to claims that Floyd died as a result of a drug overdose.

Prosecutors, and expert witnesses, claim that Floyd could have been saved if proper medical procedures were followed during and after the arrest, such as providing CPR.

Dr. Systrom was the government’s 12th witness in the federal trial.

The doctor said Floyd’s death was “an eminently reversible respiration failure event,” adding that “oxygen delivered to the heart and brain is critical to survival.”


When asked by Prosecutor Manda Sertich what could have been done in the situation to prevent Floyd’s death, Dr. Systrom said that simply standing Floyd up while handcuffed could have helped significantly, or it “could have been as simple as removal of pressure on the upper airway by a knee”

Floyd’s death caused an upheaval of violent and destructive protests around the country, and in the process, many more were seriously injured and killed as a result.

Even though prosecutors have extracted their pound of flesh with Chauvin’s guilty verdict, it doesn’t seem as if they’re interested in stopping until everyone involved that day pays a legal price.

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