Dr. Lindsey Thomas (Forensic Pathologist) at the trial of Derek Chauvin. Photo provided
By MSR Online
If one were to try to get into the heads of the jury one would suspect that they were still mesmerized by yesterday’s proceedings and the Irish lilt of pulmonologist Dr. Martin Tobin. Today’s proceedings were a bit monotonous but quite revelatory as the defense may have been able to sew a bit of doubt.
As noted by Court TV prognosticators, in most criminal murder trials the medical examiner is leaned on heavily to give the cause of death. But in this instance, it seems the prosecution called Hennepin County Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Andrew Baker somewhat reluctantly. It’s likely because during the prosecution’s questioning he did not seem to be playing for the home team.
Under normal circumstances, the county medical examiner’s office works hand-in-glove with the county prosecutor’s office.
The prosecution’s first witness was forensic pathologist Dr. Lindsey Thomas, a retired Hennepin County medical examiner. She at one point trained Dr. Baker. She testified that Floyd died of “asphyxia or low oxygen.”
She told prosecuting attorney Jerry Blackwell that Floyd was in a position—because of the subdual restraint and repression—where he could not get oxygen. “The video evidence shows Floyd in a position where he was unable to adequately breathe,” said Thomas.
“What I observed was that this was not a sudden death, which is what I would have expected if it had been an arrhythmia, and not what I expect from a fentanyl death where someone is sleepy and just passes away,” said Dr. Thomas.
Dr. Thomas also ruled out cardiac arrest as a cause of death, as well as methamphetamine, which she said causes more of a sudden death.
She pointed out that Floyd’s heart stopped because of the actions of the law enforcement officers who were holding him down.
Most of the rest of the day was spent with lawyers questioning and cross-examining Dr. Baker.
Baker was the subject of early controversy in the Floyd case when he wrote in his report explaining the cause of death, that Floyd died from a fentanyl overdose and could have just have easily have died sitting on his couch at home.
Reposted with permission from Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.