What You Need To Know:

As the Derek Chauvin murder trial closed out its second week, the official who conducted the first autopsy and signed the death certificate of George Floyd, was called to the stand. Last year, Dr. Andrew Baker was the first to state homicide as the official cause of death of George Floyd. 

As Hennepin County medical examiner, Dr. Baker, testified while there were multiple factors that contributed to the death, he stated that George Floyd would not have died if not for the actions of Derek Chauvin. There were secondary factors, according to Dr. Baker, including drugs and heart disease that played roles well. 

He told defense attorney Eric Nelson he did not see the widely viewed bystander video of Floyd’s death before he conducted his autopsy.

“I don’t want to go into an autopsy with a preconceived notion that I already know what happened,” Baker said. “That might tempt you to skip certain steps or not do certain things that might turn out to be relevant.”

Baker said he did know that Floyd had died while being restrained by police and that pressure had been applied to his neck. 

He said, “I did see the video the entire world saw,” after completing the autopsy but before releasing Floyd’s body, meaning he still would have been able to access the body had he seen something on the video that prompted further examination.

The woman who preceded Baker as medical examiner and trained him, Dr. Lindsey Thomas, also took the stand Friday. She said she agreed with Dr. Baker’s finding that Mr. Floyd’s death was a homicide and that the cause was “cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement’s subdual restraint and neck compression.”

“There’s no evidence to suggest he would have died that night, except for the interactions with law enforcement,” Dr. Thomas said.

Dr. Thomas said the autopsy had ruled out various other causes of death, including a heart attack, and that Dr. Baker’s labeling of the death as a homicide had ruled out an overdose on drugs, which would almost always be described as an accident.

Dr. Thomas added that someone who died of a heart arrhythmia would typically experience a sudden death. She described an example of someone shoveling snow, clutching their chest and falling over fairly quickly. But in Floyd’s case, she said, “There was nothing sudden about this death.”

Former Minneapolis policeman Chauvin is accused of killing George Floyd by pressing his knee on or near the Black man’s neck for up to 9 1/2 minutes last May. The defense contends Chauvin was doing his duty and that Floyd died of drug use or heart disease.

The trial resumes today, as observers believe the prosecution will soon rest their case and make way for the defense of Derek Chauvin. And that, say legal experts, is all about raising doubt in the minds of jurors. And all he needs is one juror.