George Floyd, whose fatal encounter with Minneapolis police sparked a worldwide outcry against racial prejudice by United States law enforcement, tested positive for coronavirus, showed his autopsy, but the infection did not was listed as a factor in his death.
The official cause of death, according to the full 20-page report released on Wednesday by the Hennepin County medical examiner’s office, was a cardiopulmonary arrest while Floyd was detained by police on May 25.
The coroner declared that the death was a homicide. Since then, four police officers have been dismissed from their jobs for their role in the incident, which was captured on a cellphone video of a spectator.
The video showed that the officer used his knee to drive Floyd’s neck down the street for almost nine minutes while the 46-year-old victim gasped and groaned several times, “Please, I can’t breathe. ” Floyd was pronounced dead in hospital shortly after.
The video immediately went viral on the Internet, sparking nine days of nationwide protests and civil unrest. Protesters also took to the streets abroad, from Germany to New Zealand.
The autopsy, listing the cardiopulmonary arrests as the cause of Floyd’s death, also cited “complicating subdual law enforcement, restraint and compression of the neck”.
The report lists several additional factors as “important conditions” contributing to Floyd’s death, including heart disease, high blood pressure and intoxication with the potent fentanyl opioid, as well as the recent use of methamphetamine.
The report also noted that a nasal swab sample taken from Floyd’s body had returned positive for COVID-19, and that Floyd had also tested positive on April 3, almost eight weeks before his death.
County chief medical examiner Dr. Andrew Baker concluded that the post mortem test result “most likely reflects an asymptomatic but persistent positivity from a previous infection”. Nothing in the autopsy report indicates that the coronavirus played a role in Floyd’s death.
Dr. Michael Baden, one of two forensic pathologists who performed a private autopsy for Floyd’s family, told the New York Times that county officials never told him or the funeral director that Floyd had tested positive for COVID-19.
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