Derek Chauvin on trial: what caused George Floyd’s death?

A mural in Minneapolis by Xena Goldman, Cadex Herrera, Greta McLain, Niko Alexander, and Pablo Herandez.

A mural in Minneapolis by Xena Goldman, Cadex Herrera, Greta McLain, Niko Alexander, and Pablo Herandez.

George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, died after white officer Derek Chauvin placed his knee on Floyd’s neck as he repeated, “I can’t breathe,” nearly one year ago in May of 2020. The officers involved in the incident were fired, the moment caught in a video that was used to spark the Black Lives Matter movement all over the country, but the trials surrounding Floyd’s death are still ongoing.

Chauvin has been charged with second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter for the death of George Floyd but he denies these charges.

A jury of 14 people will decide whether he will be acquitted or serve time in prison. Among the 14 seated, there are three Black men, including two who are immigrants; one Black woman; two women who identify as multiracial; two white men; and six white women,” Minnesota Public Radio reports.

Dr. Andrew Baker, the chief medical examiner who conducted the autopsy in May, testified that drugs and heart disease contributed to but didn’t directly cause Floyd’s death, instead saying that he died of “cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual restraint and neck compression.”

Baker’s testimony was backed by three medical experts who have also concluded that Floyd died from lack of oxygen, not drugs as the defense states.

In Dr. Baker’s opinion, Floyd’s underlying heart disease meant that his heart needed more oxygen than a normal heart in addition to the rapid beating caused by adrenaline.

“The law enforcement subdual, restraint, and the neck compression was just more than Mr. Floyd could take by virtue of those heart conditions,” he said.

The trials are currently in their second week of hearings and are expected to conclude in one month.